Japan Court Upholds Yaakov Yosef’s Sentence, Rejects Appeal


japan-ben-shachar-lawyersThe Tokyo High Court has failed to overturn the ruling of  the district court in the case of Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel. However, the presiding appellate judge did show leniency when calculating the credit for time served off the initial sentence. In total the judge deducted 814 days from the 6 year sentence.

The prosecution initially demanded a 13 year sentence. A sentence of 6 years was handed down in the district court, in addition to a monetary fine of 4 million ¥, the equivalent of $50,000.

The verdict of 6 years was based on the fact that the judges found reason to accuse that Yaakov Yosef should have suspected something was amiss, and although he had no clear knowledge of any contraband, there was negligence on his part for not being more cautious.

The judge claimed that the polygraph examination, whilst out ruling clear knowledge, does not prove lack of suspicion. The defense attorneys were dismayed at the callous nature of the judge’s dismissal of the defense arguments.

Mr. Masaki, one of the lawyers, commented that the judge failed to glance even once at the lawyers during the verdict due to his lack of confidence with his verdict and knowing that his verdict contains many illogical assumptions.

For a number of reasons, an appeal was filed, among them:

1) Yaakov Yosef’s not accepting his verdict directly assisted Yoel Zev’s trial, which is taking longer than expected due to court
technicalities and changes of judges. In Japan, not accepting the verdict is a powerful indication of the defendants’ and co-defendants’ claim to innocence. Furthermore, the appeal process brought to light substantial evidence for the defense of Yoel Zev, who is scheduled to receive his verdict on August 29.

2) Yaakov Yosef was saved from having to go to a forced labor prison camp during the appeal phase. The forced labor sentence allows virtually no free time for davening or learning. Yaakov Yosef spent this time in the detention center learning with great hasmodah.

3) The District Court failed to examine some of the strong evidence material, including the polygraph results. It was hoped that at the appeal trial these elements would overturn the verdict.

Efforts are being made to maintain Yaakov Yosef’s status at the Chiba detention center until his transfer to Israel. The askanim will try to  avoid the forced labor at all costs.

According to Israeli protocol, one-third of the full sentence can be deducted, and the remaining time can also be commuted as per their discretion. According to this, Yaakov Yosef could be out of prison within 10 months from now. Askonim are working towards this goal.

Reb Aron Nezri and Reb Meilech Bindinger visited Yakov Yosef immediately after the verdict, together with defense attorney Mr.

Yaakov Yosef was amazingly upbeat. “I took upon myself kabbalos tovos, and I do not regret them for a second,” he said. “I also do not regret filing for my appeal. During this time I concluded hilchos boser becholov, hilchos taaruvos, and over 100 blatt Gemara; I would never have managed this elsewhere.”

Mr. Ozawa sadly said to Yaakov Yosef that he feels very sorry for him and conveyed the feeling of the defense team that Yakov Yosef’s attitude in court and when accepting his sentence was respectful and dignified.

Present at the courtroom today were the parents of Yaakov Yosef, as well as Reb Aron Nezri, Reb Meilech Bindinger, Rabbi Binyomin Edery and Rabbi Mendy Sudakevitch of Tokyo, and other concerned Yidden from the United States, the UK, Israel and Japan.

Please daven for Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel and Yoel Zev ben Mirel Reesa Chava.

To take part in the mitzva of pidyon shevuyim, visit www.japanpidyon.org or call 718-534-0030. Checks can be made payable to Orach Chaim Rescue and mailed to Rav Malkiel Kotler, 521 Fifth Street, Lakewood, NJ, 08701.

{Andy Heller-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. The local Rabbanim must convince the Japanese that the recent horrible earthquake and tsunami are Divine retribution for their crooked system of justice. By persisting and refusing to repent, they are asking for more.

  2. Concerned: Who are you to tell the Rabbonim how to think and speak ? Since when are you the Rebbono Shel Olam ? Shall we now daaven to you instead ? What time do you want Shachris ? Ill try to get a minyan togethor.

  3. May learn from Reb Yaakov Yosef:

    Yaakov Yosef was amazingly upbeat. ”I took upon myself kabbalos tovos, and I do not regret them for a second,” he said. ”I also do not regret filing for my appeal. During this time I concluded hilchos boser becholov, hilchos taaruvos, and over 100 blatt Gemara; I would never have managed this elsewhere.”

    These are the words of a baal bitachon.

    Thank you to Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel for the chizuk.

  4. #1 – I understand your concern as we all are but please explain what you mean by crooked system of justice and how do you know so much about Hashem’s reasons. There have been many tragedies in Jewish neighborhoods in the last few weeks R”L. I would be more curious as to your explanation on those.

  5. When all this started it was stressed OVER AND OVER again that we not act in a hot-headed manner but with the deference and courtesy due the Japanese authorities. Please CYLOR before shooting off.

    Oh, and if you’re going to say that Rav (fill in the blank with name of reputable rav) said so publicly, in writing, call or write him and ask if it is still proper for YOU to say this publicly.

  6. Mehu, your nastiness and lack of derech eretz are totally uncalled for. During sefirah, especially, you should be noheg kovod lechaveiro. Shame on you.

  7. # 10,

    You’re funny. It’s apparent you would be doing yourself some good to internalize what you wrote. Your sanctimonious attack is a complete lack of kovod and totally uncalled for.

    Shame on you!

    Kpl haposel, mimumo posel


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