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Aichi: Court orders couple to pay compensation to woman’s family over fatal assault

Asako Kato
The body of Asako Kato was found in a field in the town of Minamichita in April of 2013 (Twitter)

AICHI (TR) – The Nagoya District Court last month recognized that an assault carried out by a married couple on a 41-year-old woman resulted in her death, though ordered payment of compensation far less than that sought by her family, reports the Chunichi Shimbun (Mar. 14).

On March 14, presiding judge Chieko Fukuda ordered Yasunori Sugimoto and his wife, Chikako, to pay 67.03 million yen in compensation to Yoshitaro Kato, 75, over the death of his daughter, 41-year-old Asako, who worked at a manga coffee shop managed by the defendants in Nagoya’s Nakagawa Ward. The plaintiff had sought 200 million yen in the case.

According to the ruling, Asako went missing in April of 2012. Her family lodged a missing persons report with police the following month. Police began questioning the couple the following November.

Media reports from the time revealed that police seized a vehicle belonging to Yasunori from his residence. Police believed the car was used to confine Asako.

After Asako’s body was found in a field in the town of Minamichita in April of 2013, police arrested the couple on suspicion of manslaughter and abandoning a corpse.

Prior to their arrest, the defendants indicated that Asako died as they beat her. However, they were only prosecuted on suspicion of abandoning a corpse after they remained silent following their arrest.

In 2014, a court handed the defendants a 26-month prison term, which has been completed, over the abandoning of Asako’s body.

Appeal of non-prosecution

In the latest case, Yoshitaro Kato filed an appeal against the decision of non-prosecution for review by the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution.

During the trial, a document submitted to police by the defendants in which they admitted to killing Asako was provided to the court as evidence. The plaintiff argued that the assault by the defendants killed Asako. However, the defense maintained that a connection between her death and the assault did not exist.