Accused underwear thief denied charge, told Tokyo court he ‘didn’t want them’

Defendant argued he was seeking 'sexual arousal,' not possession of underwear

Kazuyoshi Shimizu
Kazuyoshi Shimizu

TOKYO (TR) – They were crimes driven by passion — and not material gain, or so went the defense.

Kazuyoshi Shimizu, 49, a former truck driver from Shizuoka Prefecture, had been accused of robbery in incidents in which he forcibly removed underwear from women. During his trial last month, he told the Tokyo District Court that the charges did not apply since he “didn’t want them,” claiming that the thrill of the crimes superseded any personal gain — a ploy that still ended in a prison sentence, reports the Sankei Shimbun reports (October 9).

“I snatched the underwear away but in the daze of committing such an obscene act I do not remember putting them in my pocket,” Shimizu told the court. “In thinking about the woman whose pants I had just stripped off for sexual arousal, I surely tossed them away immediately. In this way, possession was not the intent. Therefore, I do not acknowledge the charge of robbery.”

In June of 2013, Shimizu pushed a woman, aged in her 20s, to the ground on a road in Tokyo and kissed her, according to the indictment. “I won’t harm you if you give me your underwear,” the defendant reportedly said. He then snatched the garment (with a value of 500 yen) from the woman as he pressed his genitals into her face.

One year later, he called out to a woman, 18, in the street — “I’ll give you 20,000 yen for your underwear” — before he put his hand over her mouth. He then allegedly stole her underwear (valued at 1,000 yen) as he fondled her body. The woman was slightly injured in the incident.

Police arrested Shimizu in July of last year on a number of charges, including robbery and indecent assault resulting in injury.

According to the Sankei, the defendant’s explanation that he did not want the underwear was an attempt to exploit the definition of robbery, which includes both an intent to steal and unlawful possession.

However, presiding judge Dakeiki Komorita found such a defense to be “strained.” “You may have had an intention to throw away the underwear, given that you would be suspected as the culprit if you did not throw them away, but it is unfathomable that you returned to your truck empty-handed,” Komorita said.

On September 30, the judge sentenced Shimizu to three years and six months in prison. The prosecution had sought a five-year term.

According to the Sankei, the utterance of “underwear” was heard at least 40 times during the proceedings to the delight of those in the court.

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