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Man handed suspended prison term for killing deer in Nara Park with axe

NARA (TR) – A court here has handed a 23-year-old man a suspended term for killing a protected deer in Nara City earlier this year, reports NHK (May 26).

At the Nara District Court on Wednesday, presiding judge Risa Ishikawa handed Hayato Yoshii, an employee in the construction industry, the 10-month prison term, suspended for three years.

“It was a brutal and vicious crime that disregarded the life of an animal,” said presiding judge Ishikawa.

According to the ruling, Yoshii used what is believed ot have been an axe to slash the female deer at Nara Park at around 2 a.m. on Feb. 7.

Police used security camera footage to identify Yoshii, a resident of Mie Prefecture.

“While I was playing with some deer, I got angry because one of them suddenly rammed my car. I was determined to kill it,” Yoshii told police upon his arrest in March, according to Kyodo News.

Hayato Yoshii (Twitter)

Tourist attraction

Nara Park is a tourist attraction due to the roughly 1,200 deer that roam its grounds, according to the Nara Deer Preservation Foundation.

Visitors can purchase crackers to feed to the deer, which are protected under the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties.

Prior to the incident, one deer rammed Yoshii’s vehicle. “At the time, I had been drinking and lost my composure,” he told the court in admitting to the allegations.

Police suspected that Yoshii killed a deer other than the one that rammed his vehicle.

The case is not a first. In 2010, a man, who ran a restaurant, and a woman used a crossbow to kill a deer in the same park. The man told police that he thought deer meat could fetch a high price.