YAMAGATA (TR) – A court here last week sentenced a 29-year-old former reporter for public broadcaster NHK to 21 years in prison for raping three women, reports TBS News (Apr. 25).
At the Yamagata District Court on April 25, presiding judge Mitsuo Kojima found Yasutaka Tsurumoto guilty in all three cases despite his denials during the trial.
“Since the defendant has not reflected upon the crimes, there is a danger of relapse,” the judge said in handing down the ruling. Prosecutors had sought 24 years in the case.
According to the ruling, Tsurumoto sexually assaulted the three women, aged in their 20s, after breaking into their apartments in Yamagata and Yamanashi prefectures in separate incidents that took place between 2013 and 2016.
“I didn’t commit the crimes,” Tsurumoto claimed during the trial. Further, his defense team questioned the handling of evidence taken at the crime scenes that were used for DNA analyses.
On February 6, 2017, police first arrested Tsurumoto, then a reporter for an affiliate of NHK’s Yamagata Broadcasting Station in Sakata City, Yamagata, in the alleged rape of a woman, aged in her 20s, inside her residence in the Murayama locality of Yamagata about one year before. During the investigation, the other cases surfaced.
After graduating from Waseda University in 2011, Tsurumoto joined the public broadcaster in Kofu City, Yamanashi. In July of 2015, he was transferred to the Yamagata Broadcasting Station. He moved to the affiliate in Sakata in 2016.
Tsurumoto was terminated by NHK on February 16, 2017.