The killer of Scott Tucker, choked to death by a DJ in a Tokyo bar, gets suspended sentence.


Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan

HI Blog.  I made the case last May, in a special DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER on criminal justice and policing of NJ, that NJ get special (as in negative) treatment by courts and cops.  An article I included from the Japan Times mentioned that a case of a NJ man killed in a bar “was likely to draw leniency” in criminal court.  It did.  The killer essentially got off last September.  Here’s an article about it, from Charleston, WV.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

That special NEWSLETTER:


No appeal in Japan murder of state man
The Charleston Gazette, September 20, 2008

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Prosecutors in Japan have decided not appeal the sentence in the murder conviction of a man placed on five years’ probation for murdering Charleston native and West Virginia University graduate Scott Tucker.

“Prosecutors decided not to even present the appeal,” said Kenneth Tucker II, Scott Tucker’s brother. “They said the witness’s testimony was strong enough not to appeal.”

Tucker’s wife and family had hoped prosecutors would appeal the sentencing in an attempt to get the man jail time. But prosecutors said Thursday they would not pursue an appeal before the two-week window to file ends on Monday.

On Sept. 8, Atsushi Watanabe, 29, was sentenced to three years in prison or five years’ probation for killing Scott Tucker. Under Japanese law, probation in murder cases can begin immediately so Watanabe will serve five years probation rather than three years in prison, David Yoshida, who attended the trial with Tucker’s wife, Yumiko Yamakazi, said previously.

Yamakazi is weighing her options in pursuing a civil case against Watanabe, Kenneth Tucker said.

“Unfortunately we just have to live with it and go on,” he said. “I know my brother was a Christian and I hope to see him again someday.”

Tucker, 47, had been drinking at a bar before going into Bullets, a club located beside his home in downtown Tokyo.

The club was known for its parties, noise and fights, and Tucker went there because he wanted the place to quiet down, according to witness statements.

At the time, officials with Tokyo police told Japan Today, an English-language newspaper, that Tucker appeared very drunk and acted violently toward customers, at times striking a boxer’s pose.

“With the help of alcohol he went down there to tell them,” said David Yoshida, who attended the trial with Yamakazi.

Yoshida, a Baptist missionary, served as an interpreter for Ken Tucker when he went to Japan after his brother died.

According to Yoshida and Yamakazi, witnesses told the court that Scott pushed a couple of people who fell on the floor and were not hurt.

Watanabe then kicked him in the groin and got Tucker in a chokehold, crushing his Adam’s apple.

In court, Watanabe said he felt his life was in danger. Watanabe is 5 feet, 9 inches and weighs 154 pounds. Scott was 5 feet, 9 inches and weighed 242 pounds.

The courtroom was flooded with supporters for Watanabe, Yoshida said.

Earlier this week, Tucker’s family sent a letter to Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan’s ambassador to the United States. They hope that he will look into the case.

“We do not understand how it is possible that the two detectives (Sergeant Abe and Megumi Akita, who assured us the evidence pointed to a deliberate and brutal murder), were not in court because they had been re-assigned or possibly promoted; nor do we understand the absence of the original prosecutor at the trial,” Kenneth Tucker wrote in the letter, provided to the Gazette. “We also don’t understand how our family’s concerns were not admitted into evidence during the court proceeding.”

The conviction rate for those accused of murder in Japan is 99.95 percent, Michael Griffith, an international criminal defense attorney who has handled many cases in Japan said previously.

Japanese police routinely hold suspects for 23 days without seeing a judge, Griffith said. During that time they can interrogate them daily, for as much as 12 hours at a time.

“The lawyers over there aren’t defense lawyers. I’d categorize them as sentencing experts,” Griffith said previously.

Once a case goes to sentencing, the convicted often get more lenient sentences than in the U.S., he said. People convicted for murder often get under 10 years, he said.

Reach Gary Harki at gha… or 348-5163.

40 comments on “The killer of Scott Tucker, choked to death by a DJ in a Tokyo bar, gets suspended sentence.

  • Imagine if things were reveresed: Foreign guy “accidentally” strangles a J guy in a bar. Media would be all over it, and if by any slight chance the foreigner were to get a light sentence, politicians and the public would be outraged and would demand an appeal.

    But this is Japan. J guy kills a foreigner and the reaction is “Aw shucks, it was just an accident.” There are rowdy drunk J guys all over Tokyo, and no one believes they need to be “subdued” through strangulation. Why is this type of treatment ok when its foreigners?? Oops, I forgot. Because we’re beasts that need to be tamed.

    Japan in year 2008. How sad.

  • Lessee… a drunk goes into a bar looking for a fight (and allegedly, based on comments elsewhere from people who say they knew him, this wasn’t his first time) and finds one. He starts kicking people around, someone gets behind him and puts a chokehold on him, but is unfortunately a bit too pumped up on adrenalin (or fear) and squeezes too hard. The guy who started the fight dies as a result.

    [snipping parts of this post; Stick to your points about the case.]

    “Deliberate and brutal murder” bull. More like “self defense”, which is how it probably would have been treated almost anywhere else in the world. I somehow doubt Watanabe would have even gotten probation if this had happened in West Virginia. So if there is “injustice” it is there, as Japan’s self-defense laws are unfortunately a joke. Someone busts into your house with a knife and you stab them with a handy kitchen knife – and guess what? You’re in trouble unless you can prove that “he was going to stab you”. Sheesh.

  • A suspended sentence? It’s almost as if he was found innocent.

    If Mr. Tucker had appeared drunk, and Watanabe had already kicked him in the groin, it seems doubtful that there would have been any need to choke him so powerfully that his windpipe would be broken.

    Watanabe should do some time in jail as he is guilty of manslaughter.

  • A sad story indeed.

    But without being there, it’s difficult to know wht happened, exactly. I hesitate to call it anything other than a very unfortunate turn of events.

  • You’re all forgetting that witnesses claim to have seen Tucker strike a “boxing pose” at some point. Which obviously means he deserves to DIE!!!

    Also, remember how in the Valentine case, the judge said one black man could not serve as a credible witness at another black man’s trial, since he would obviously just lie to help out a fellow black man? Well, shouldn’t that same (il)logic apply here? Why take the word of Japanese witnesses who are clearly just trying to help out a Japanese defendant?

  • Murphy, are you a troll? It’s hard to believe you could be serious.

    Tucker never kicked anybody. Read the article. It was Watanabe who kicked Tucker, before choking him to death. Even the Japanese witnesses (probably some of the same people who “flooded” the courtroom to “support” Watanabe) say Tucker only “pushed” people around. And based on the article, Watanabe doesn’t even seem to be one of the people Tucker allegedly pushed!

    Was Watanabe really acting in “self defense” by kicking Tucker square in the nuts? How about after the kick? Was Tucker still a threat after taking a full-on shot in the nuts? And how about after Watanabe got him in a choke hold, was he still a threat then? Did Watanabe need to kill Tucker in order to defend himself? The answer seems pretty obvious: No. We are talking about a 47-year-old drunk man, not the Terminator.

    You don’t get a free pass to kill a guy because he (allegedly) pushed people. Watanabe was guilty of battery just for kicking Tucker and putting him in a choke hold, and definitely should have done jail time for killing him. If Watanabe was “unfortunately a bit too pumped up on adrenalin (or fear)” to avoid killing Tucker, too bad for Watanabe. His tough-guy vigilante ass should be sitting in a prison somewhere.

  • I wonder if a case like this could set a frightening precedence for future cases? I don’t know how much Japanese law is based on precedence but if much weight is give to it, it could be scary.

    Watanabe was found guilty so the murder can’t be justified as self-defense but, apparently, killing a foreigner doesn’t warrant any punishment.

    It would be interesting to see if statistics have been kept on punishment in manslaughter cases in Japan. I find it hard to believe that no punishment is meted out at all.

  • Debito, what does “probation” mean in Japanese criminal law, anyway?

    Does it mean that if Watanabe kills another gaijin in the next five years, he might actually get some jail time? But that if he plays it cool until September 2013, he gets another free pass at choking one of us to death?

    — I’m not a lawyer or a public prosecutor, but it just might. See HANDBOOK, pg. 190.

  • What self defense???

    Mr. Tucker, appartently, would have pushed a couple on the floor (not Watanabe) and Mr. Watanabe reacted and killed Mr. Tucker?

    It is a way too far an excess of reaction, aggravated by the non-involvement of Mr. Watanabe in the matter between the couple and Mr. Tucker.

    Mr. Watanabe acted as an avenger and I wouldn’t be suprise if he was a kind of super martial arts expert, because here in Japan only people armed or martial arts super skilled men react violently (very high self confidence). Normal people are peaceful and not violent.

  • Everyone have a look at the comments from March, 2008.

    If this sentencing ISN’T a double standard, then anyone, Japanese or NJ, who FEELS that another person MAY FEEL threatened by a drunk’s behavior, may employ deadly force aginst the drunk, killing him, and get off almost scot-free. In other words, if you are at a bar and SEE a drunk guy push someone and IMAGINE that the person who got pushed MAY FEEL threatened, you may employ DEADLY FORCE against the drunk and NOT be sentenced to do any jail time. That is precisely what the facts show to be the case. You need not alert the police when you see a roudy person, just jump right to “kill mode”.

    The court is sending the message that it is soft on vigilanteism. But WHOSE vigilanteism? In this case a Japanese has taken the life of an American and is walking the streets, free as a bird.

    There also remains the question of whether Watanabe or anyone else at the bar took the CORRECT action – summon the police or attempt to leave – when Tucker first “struck a boxer’s pose” and got roudy. Truth be told, Tucker’s actions were probably not very threatening, otherwise people would have streamed out of the bar and into the street. But even if his actions WERE threatening, Watanabe could have left the bar. Patrons could have gone home. Tucker couldn’t possibly have prevented everyone from leaving the bar or calling the police. Nothing that I’ve read suggests that there was ever any attempt to take proper, legal action. That’s a crucial point. Did Watanabe ever try anything except brutal violence? I haven’t seen or heard anything that even hints at it. Has anyone else? If he or anyone else DID, in fact, call the police and they responded too slowly, how much blame should they be sharing with Watanabe? There is just too much wrong with this case.

    By the way, do any readers have links to articles about the American employed by an NBA team who was hit by a taxi in Tokyo and left for dead, and subsequently hit and killed by another driver who also fled the scene? I read an article about it earlier in the year in The Japan Times, I believe, and told myself that I’d never see any follow-up. Guess what? There hasn’t been any follow-up. Correct me if I’m wrong. No charges had been filed against either driver at the time the article was written.

  • O.K. I’ll correct you. You’re wrong. The taxi driver who hit him the second time was immediately arrested and charged with negligent driving resulting in manslaughter. If you read the news at the time then you’d have known that. Two months later, police found and charged the first driver, a minor…

    — Please send us the coverage.

  • its seems like we have a real double standard in japan. the double standard is that NJ do time in jail with no bail, and japanese get suspended sentences and automatic bail..

  • Stevie – thanks for the link. The same situation in reverse and the foreigner gets four years in prision. I suspected as much.

    Unbelievable double standard.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    Stan, can we really call that the same situation in reverse?

    It looks like in Patrick’s case, the man who died was actually his friend, on his side, and that the victim was killed by other people with Patrick being deemed responsible.

    Patrick was even deported immediately after his sentence was completed:–Wales-prisoner-is-released-from-Japan-name_page.html

    (What if he had affairs to get in order?)

    This is nothing like the current case, in which a DJ takes it upon himself to kill another man who lived next door and came into the bar (where the DJ wasn’t even a regular employee) and complained (violently, perhaps) about noise.

    — Second link is dead…

  • “Please send us the coverage.”



    from Asahi (link expired)

    It appears that the cause of death was the second car which was driven by a 19 yr minor. The tax driver was arrested on the spot.

    — Thanks for this. Track down a date just for completeness’s sake?

  • One of Amnesty International’s tactics is(was?) to write letters to government officials or even the prisons where people are held. Maybe in future cases like Patrick’s a letter campaign could be started. I would volunteer.

  • Apart from the racist implications of these cases, I can’t get over how brutally Japanese society treats both foreigners and Japanese. The legal system and the jails seem inhumane.
    Patrick Loughlin was limited as to whom and how often he could write letters. His desire to plea innocent was ignored by his lawyer.
    The Japanese court declined to let him serve his court in the UK. He was beaten and abused in prison.
    The intimidation in interrogations and violence in prison surely happens to Japanese people, too. Why do they put up with it?

  • “Thanks for this. Track down a date just for completeness’s sake?”

    Feb 20, 2008.

    “It looks like in Patrick’s case, the man who died was actually his friend, on his side, and that the victim was killed by other people with Patrick being deemed responsible.”

    Sure Mark. I stopped reading his “plea” after

    “Despite being confronted by men brandishing weapons, including aknife and a Japanese Kendo sword, Pat was arrested and charged on theindictment of “bodily injury resulting in death”.

    Sounds like a script from a bad Chuck Norris flick. Pat=Chuck Norris

    — Thanks for the date.

    No matter how it sounds to you, do you have counterevidence to refute this portrayal? If not, you are speculating, and I’m going to have to delete the latter half of your comment as trolling.

  • Speculation?

    I’m terribly sorry to be so cynical but much of what is being written in comments on this page is pure speculation. I doubt anyone was present when the event occurred and would be very surprised if anyone writing here was in court to witness proceedings. Just because it’s in the press doesn’t make it the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth either. Journalists have an agenda. As does this website. Has anyone read the court transcripts? I thought not….

    Working out whether or not the judiciary acted in a prejudiced manner should involve analysing the details of this case and perhaps shouldn’t be grounded on an article written by a journalist who works a thousand miles away from where it happened and who could perhaps not be any more biased.

    — Grounds for these assertions the journalist was inaccurate or biased?

  • “No matter how it sounds to you, do you have counterevidence to refute this portrayal? If not, you are speculating, and I’m going to have to delete the latter half of your comment as trolling.”

    STP: I saw a 15 foot woman with an arm sticking out of her mouth.
    Person A: You’re full of ****

    By your logic , Person A is trolling because he does not have counterevidence to refute my story.

    Sorry Debito. That’s not how it works for me. The court already proved his guilt. As far as I’m concerned, it’s Patrick and his supporters that need to give me strong counter evidence to prove his innocence. And that story about being confronted by Kendo sword waving men ain’t going to do it.

    — No, Person A is trolling because he’s trying to aggravate the situation by picking a fight. Calling people Chuck Norris is not constructive to this discussion. And I doubt an attack of the fifteen foot woman would be approved for discussion on this blog anyway.

    For the purposes of this discussion, present some evidence or argument germane to the case or stop speculating.

    Meanwhile, presumption of innocence, anyone? That’s how it’s supposed to work, even in Japan.

  • The cause of the death that got Patrick Loughlin jail time in Japan was said to be a fall and hitting his head against a wall. Now no matter whether Loughlin was involved in the brawl or hit his (apparent) friend, how on earth did *he* get four years of jail time, while a guy that purposefully went up to another person, kicks him in the nuts, gets him in a chokehold (and most people would have stopped here by now), and then decides this man of the same height (and either extremely muscular, or more likely, obese) is threatening his life and he needs to crush the man’s windpipe, get no jail time at all?

  • STP wrote: “The court already proved his guilt.”

    Courts do not prove or disprove guilt. They only determine if one is _legally_ guilty of a crime. Innocent people may be legally convicted of crimes. Guilty people may also be found legally innocent.

  • STP, the “counterevidence” Person A has in your ridiculous hypothetical is that 15-foot-tall people simply don’t exist. So accounts of a person that tall (arm in mouth or not) are correctly dismissed as ****.

    By contrast, accounts that people in a bar fight in Japan brandished a knife and a wooden kendo sword as weapons are eminently believable.

    If you are going to use analogies to prove whatever point you may think you have, please try not to make them so nonsensical and useless.

  • Here is Patrick Loughlin’s story: (from

    ‘I became engaged in a disagreement with the bar employees who were being discriminatory towards me,’ said Patrick. ‘They had asked me to leave my seat and sit away from the bar so a group of young Japanese men could take my place. I expressed my dissatisfaction with the request as it had happened to me on many occasions.
    ‘I reluctantly obliged and moved, but the people who I’d been moved to accommodate took offence and because abusive and threatening towards me.
    ‘Before I knew it I was being manhandled by a number of people. My friend stepped in to calm things down but while trying to do so, he fell and hit his head on the wall, and later died of a brain haemorrhage.’
    Patrick was subsequently arrested and charged with ‘grevious bodily harm leading to death’ by the authorities.
    ‘From this point onwards, my life became a nightmare,’ he said. ‘I was the only person arrested and arrest procedures were not followed. I didn’t understand what was happening and I was given no assistance, nobody to talk to.
    ‘I was interrogated relentlessly for 20 days, during which time I gave five detailed statements, all of which clearly demonstrated I was innocent. But the police were not interested – they continually tried to force a confession from me.
    ‘They hid, ignored and manipulated evidence, and completely fitted me up.’
    While in custody, Patrick was given a Japanese lawyer who could not speak English, and who falsely entered a guilty plea on his behalf, which Patrick says led to his wrongful conviction.
    ‘I received no help or advice. I had immediately requested a lawyer but I didn’t get one. Five days later, I was given an out-of-date list of lawyers. I was not allowed any phone calls, so how was I supposed to get a decent lawyer?
    ‘On the sixth day, a duty lawyer called Mr Sugiura visited me. He didn’t speak any English but I was desperate for some advice. Hiring him was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I never received proper representation, never understood what was happening and never stood a chance.
    ‘I did undertake a civil action against him, but unfortunately, as with all my legal experiences in Japan, the odds were stacked against me as victory would have raised serious questions about the whole Japanese legal system.
    ‘My court case lasted an hour and was a farce – I was denied the use of all evidence and the ability to call or use witnesses.’
    Patrick spent six months in a detention centre in Okazaki, where he was refused medical treatment, before being moved to the barbaric Nagoya prison.
    But pressure from a campaign for his release in the UK eventually saw Patrick being transferred to a prison in Osaka in October 2001, where conditions improved slightly.
    ‘I was so relieved to be sent to Osaka. In the main, conditions were better but still not good.
    The system there is extremely oppressive, particularly towards foreigners and disabled people.
    ‘The prison factory is nothing more than slave labour. To begin with, I was paid £3 for a month’s work. I worked hard because you had to. You couldn’t talk or look away from your desk and if you broke any one of their ridiculous, meaningless rules you were sent to solitary confinement.’
    Unsurprisingly, Patrick has blasted the Japanese justice system, but he has also angrily accused the British Foreign Office of doing nothing to help him during his four years of torment.
    ‘There is no justice system in Japan – it’s just an absolute farce. They just stick you in a room and try and badger you into making a confession. Forget your rights, forget any legal advice – they just bang you up in a room. If you are arrested, you’re in big trouble, especially if you’re a foreigner.
    ‘But I’m also disgusted with how the Foreign Office has behaved. I’d be telling the consulate one thing in Japan, and then the Foreign Office back home would tell my parents something else, constantly making excuses for the Japanese.
    ‘They never believed one word I told them, and that really annoyed me. During my time in prison, I pleaded with the British authorities to protect me. I made several complaints and asked for intervention and a thorough investigation. I was ignored.
    ‘It was only when the revelations of several people’s deaths in the Nagoya prison came to their attention 18 months later did they even contemplate the possibility that what I had been telling them about my ordeal may have been true.
    ‘I actually wrote to them stating: ‘Now, do you believe me?’

  • Debito, you asked above, where is the presumption of innocent? Come now, surely you were being sarcastic! “But experts say that in court, where acquittals are considered harmful to the careers of prosecutors and judges alike, there is a presumption of guilt.” This is from a very complete New York Times article on recent concerns by *Japanese* about their messed-up “justice” system. Patrick Loughlin’s story appears more than plausible.

    The big impetus for the NYT article is the revelation over how Japanese police assaulted senior citizens to extract confessions. I suppose even the most stone-hearted Japanese would be shocked by this. (sorry if Debito already covered this story somewhere…it’s worth bringing up here though)

    The article mentions a Japanese documentary called “I just didn’t do it”. Has anyone seen that? Is it worth checking out?

    — The movie you mention isn’t a documentary, but it’s worth checking out. And on the books, presumption of innocence is supposed to hold in Japan. However, that’s on the books, not in practice (for example the Right to Remain Silent, as in “mokuhiken”, gets treated with an assumption of guilt), as I have written many times on

    That said, in this discussion, we should presume innocence. The accused does not have to prove his own innocence. The accuser has to prove guilt. And that’s how we’ll proceed on

  • Grant Mahood says:

    Found it! Here is the AP/Kyodo story that I mentioned in post 13 above.

    After re-reading the story, I believe that the summary I gave in post 13 was a pretty accurate one: an American working for an NBA team was, according to this story, hit by a taxi and left lying on the road, only to be hit and killed by another driver, who fled the scene. I’ll concede that the taxi driver who initially hit Mr.Floyd MAY have been somewhere around, but wasn’t helping the victim. Then again, he may have sped off and then come back. We’re left to guess in this report.

    I also wrote that, according to the story, no charges had been filed against either of the two men at the time the piece was written. I stand by this interpretation of the report: the taxi driver had been released on lack of evidence and the minor who actually killed Mr. Floyd was, at the time, denying that he had hit anyone. Perhaps the police WERE charging him with something, but it isn’t clearly stated in the AP/KYODO article. The point is, two Japanese men ran down and killed an American and we haven’t heard anything about harsh sentences being handed down. That’s the follow-up that I’ve been waiting for.

    Again, can any readers provide links to a follow-up story? By follow-up, I mean a story about the sentencing, if any, in the cases of the two men.

    It’s hard to believe that the taxi driver who hit Mr. Floyd, causing him to be hit and killed by a second motorist, just walked away from the whole thing. And did the boy get away with denying the allegations and also go free? Those are questions that many readers of this thread would like to have answered, as many of us are aghast at how Scott Tucker’s killer was sentenced to mere probation for his murder. Are police and courts soft on killers of foreigners? It’s a legitimate question.

    Man arrested over fatal hit-and-run of American tourist in Dec.+
    Feb 20 02:39 AM US/Eastern

    TOKYO, Feb. 20 (AP) – (Kyodo)—A 19-year-old male was arrested Tuesday for allegedly running over and killing a 26-year-old American tourist on a street in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward in late December and fleeing the scene, the Metropolitan Police Department said Wednesday.

    The youth, whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, has denied the allegations, saying he felt a bump but did not think he had hit anyone.

    David James Floyd, an employee of the National Basketball Association team Dallas Mavericks, had just been struck by a taxi and was lying in the street in the Sendagaya district when police allege he was run over by the youth at around 12.35 a.m. on Dec. 29.

    The taxi driver was arrested but later released after the police decided against seeking criminal charges to prove willful negligence for lack of evidence.

  • And this is why all the media-government-police “GAIJIN HANZAI” hype is not just racist, but actually physically dangerous.

    Although I don’t think there’s any way in hell this DJ was afraid of a drunk, fat, middle aged man because he had been influenced by the GAIJIN HANZAI continuous media blitz…

    The self-defense argument in not valid. Self-defense with deadly force is only justified as a counter to a threat of deadly force. Did Mr. Tucker have a gun? a knife? a pointy stick even? No. But he WAS a gaijin. And gaijin are dangerous criminals. [rest of rant snipped]

  • Bouncer Fred says:

    Hi. First of all, I would like to say that it is awful what happened to Scott. I have worked as a bouncer in the US and Australia, however, and I also feel sorry for Watanabe. This sort of situation is everything that people who work in clubs fear the most. When I was working, I was not really afraid of the customers. I was more afraid of being sued or winding up in jail. In the US, if someone starts doing anything violent to other customers and the bar staff don’t do anything, they can get sued for big bucks. There could even be criminal charges for standing by in some situations. Given a violent guy in the bar, I don’t think that Watanabe really had much of a choice. Worse that he was drunk, worse that he had a 100 pounds on him.

    I also think that he probably got off because what he did is textbook bouncer work. Now he may have been the “disc jockey” or whatever but it seemed like he knew what he was doing so the place probably didn’t have a bouncer and he did double duty. If I understand it correctly, he kicked scott in the balls then put a choke on him. If you can’t fight, this sounds brutal. If you have ever worked in a bar, you know that it is best thing to do. You never punch a guy in the face. That is clear assault, even if you are breaking something up. A guy can fall in all sorts of funny ways and die. Given that you are fighting a much bigger guy, the safest strike for you and for him is the groin. It incapacitates and I take it that every guy here has taken one in the nuts so you know, you don’t fall backward where you can hit your head, you sort of crumple down. That is the best case scenario. If that does not work, the next safest and most effective thing is a hold. You see leg and arm locks on TV but you in bars you can get bit or something if you try them. After a hit to the groin, a choke is the next best, next safest thing for everyone. Tragically, people die from these just like Scott did. I don’t know if a bouncer or anyone who knows about fighting testified in the court, but if they did, the judges heard that what Watanabe did was textbook self defense.

  • Bouncer Fred, how is crushing the windpipe of a drunk man ‘textbook self defense.’?

    How do you know that Watanabe knew what he was doing?

    I think Watanabe overreacted and is guilty of manslaughter, if not murder. He could have called the police.

  • Bouncer Fred says:

    You know, I think that I explained it pretty well. A choke hold is safer than striking a guy but it can go wrong. How would you have subdued a drunk guy with 100 punds on you? This isn’t the movies with a pool que and a chair.

    Should call the police, yes, but what do you do for the 5 minutes before they get there? I read above that Scott pushed some people off their feet. That is scary for a bouncer. People can crack their heads and die that way and you have to act. Otherwise, what is hte point of haivng security in bars at all?

    Before I read the story about Scott, if someone had asked me what are the safest ways to incapacitate a large drunk guy in a bar, I would have said – strike to the groin, followed by a hold. I wasn’t there when Scott died, of course, but I’ve been in dozens of situations like the one described. Only giving my opinion like I expect somebody did in court. If Watanabe had hit Scott and killed him, I’d say throw him in jail. But he didn’t. As I mentioned above, bars are responsible for protecting customers. There are good ways to do that and bad ways. Even the good ways go wrong but from the point of view of someone who has worked in a lot of bars – we really wish that guys would think about this before starting stuff. The best night for a bouncer is one where nothing happens.

  • ‘I read above that Scott pushed some people off their feet.’
    Please add this to the end of your sentence:

    “…and [they] were not hurt.”
    ‘How would you have subdued a drunk guy with 100 punds on you? This isn’t the movies with a pool que and a chair.’
    He had already kicked him in the groin. The force required to break someone’s trachea is a lot greater than that required to subdue a drunk man.
    ‘That is scary for a bouncer… Otherwise, what is hte point of haivng security in bars at all?’
    Watanabe is not a bouncer, but a DJ. Scott went there to complain about the noise. Maybe the DJ was angry. We don’t know.

  • Bouncer Fred says:

    Behan, I’m afraid that you don’t know very much about fighting or bar situations. Just remember, the next time that you are in a bar, the bouncers (I’ve DJed too, BTW), and that includes other staff, are there to protect you. People, maybe drunk, getting pushed on the floor is bad news. You find out that they were okay after the situation is over, not during.

    “The force required to break someone’s trachea is a lot greater than that required to subdue a drunk man.”

    Ever subdue a 250 pound violent drunk man Behan? Didn’t think so.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say my piece. Good site you’ve got going here.

  • In regard to the article:

    “Michael Griffith, an international criminal defense attorney who has handled many cases in Japan said previously.”

    There are no international criminal defense attorneys operating in Japan, and certainly few people other than activists like myself who have been involved in many cases

    “Once a case goes to sentencing, the convicted often get more lenient sentences than in the U.S., he said. People convicted for murder often get under 10 years, he said.”

    Every criminologist who has an interest in comparative studies knows that the USA is the MOST punitive country among the industrialized world, and so the comparison is moot. People convicted for murder often do NOT get under 10 years, this is complete rubbish!

    Michael H. Fox
    American Society of Criminology
    Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

  • EasternGaijin says:

    As of reading these comments, I have a few things to state.

    1: Debito, thank you for posting this information. I’m currently watching TkyoSam’s interview of you.

    2: I practice martial arts, in a way. I do a mix bag of a bit of everything. I’m also an extremely large fellow and if put into a fight could hurt somebody. I know how much strength is needed to brush a windpipe and how much is needed in a chokehold. The amount is significantly different and what Watanabe-san did was murder.

    [last trolling sentence deleted]

  • Inspector Columbo says:

    Ok, there’s one thing I don’t quite understand. Patrick said: ‘Before I knew it I was being manhandled by a number of people. My friend stepped in to calm things down but while trying to do so, he fell and hit his head on the wall, and later died of a brain haemorrhage.’ What exactly happened here? He doesn’t say, “My friend was pushed by one of my attackers, and fell.” He doesn’t say, “My friend got knocked down in the middle of the brawl.” He says, “…he fell and hit his head on the wall.” Did he slip getting up from his chair? Was there spilled beer on the floor? Did anyone touch him before he fell? Did Patrick try to push him away?

    After reading this story, I think I’m going to find a competent, English-speaking lawyer and carry his card with me at all times.


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