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Tokyo court hands ex-baseball star Kiyohara suspended sentence

Kazuhiro Kiyohara
Kazuhiro Kiyohara

TOKYO (TR) – The Tokyo District Court on Tuesday handed down a 30-month prison sentence, suspended for four years, to former baseball star Kazuhiro Kiyohara for the possession and use of illegal drugs, reports the Asahi Shimbun (May 31).

Presiding judge Junichi Yoshikai said that since Kiyohara’s addiction to kakuseizai, or stimulant drugs, was strong, his violations of the Stimulants Control Law was “malicious.”

According to prosecutors, the former member of the Yomiuri Giants and Seibu Lions was first arrested in February for possession of stimulant drugs after a search of his residence in Minato Ward revealed 0.2 grams of the illegal substances. He was arrested again for the use of illegal drugs later that month.

Police also arrested the ex-slugger’s suspected dealer. Kazuyuki Kobayashi was taken into custody over the alleged sale of 1.2 grams of stimulant drugs to Kiyohara for 80,000 yen in Midori City, Gunma Prefecture in September.

The defense argued that Kiyohara had expressed “atonement.”At the opening of the trial, he pleaded guilty to the drug offenses and offered an apology for his actions, saying he “was sorry to the boys who aspire to become professional baseball players.”

Over his 22-year career, Kiyohara established himself as one of NPB’s greatest power hitters. In his first season with the Lions in 1986, he slugged 31 home runs and was awarded Rookie of the Year honors. He ended his career with 525 home runs, which ranks fifth in NPB history.