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Tokyo court convicts man for raping 12-year-old daughter, overturning previous ruling

TOKYO (TR) – A court here has overturned a previous ruling and handed a man living in Shizuoka Prefecture a prison term for the rape of his daughter, reports NHK (Dec. 21).

At the Tokyo High Court on Monday, presiding judge Hiroko Kondo said “the victim’s testimony is highly credible” in handing the man, who was not named, a prison term of 7 years.

“The physical and mental suffering of the victim is beyond imagination and serious,” the judge said. “With the defendant not reflecting upon his actions, his criminal liability is quite heavy.”

In 2017, the Hamamatsu branch of the Shizuoka District Court found the man innocent of rape and violating the anti-child prostitution and pornography law.

During that trial, the girl testified that she was sexually assaulted by her father over a two-year period beginning when she was 12 years old.

The presiding judge found it “unnatural” that no other members of the family noticed the sexual abuse. “Her testimony is not to be trusted,” the judge said.

In handing down the second ruling, judge Kondo said that while the testimony of the girl is “traumatic” its “specific nature” could only be possible if she were a victim. “The judgment in the first trial is unreliable and unreasonable,” the judge concluded in overturning the previous ruling.

Shiori Ito, a prominent figure in Japan’s #MeToo movement, spoke at a “Flower Demo” protest last year

“Flower Demo” protests

The initial innocent ruling was one of several cases — including another innocent verdict handed to a man in Aichi Prefecture who was also accused of raping his daughter — that sparked last year’s start of nationwide “Flower Demo” protests, which aimed to sexual violence and injurtice against women.

The rallies ended this past March 8. “Today marked an end of a chapter of the [movement], but it is not the end,” said Minori Kitahara, 49, an author and one of the organizers of the demonstration in front of Tokyo Station, according to Asahi Shimbun “Now, it’s society’s turn to change.”