(with Japan Times articles on 2004 police Al-Qaeda witch hunt and Himu Case, and Asia Times on upcoming "Conspiracy Law")


What follows is an excellent summary from the Japan Times on what's wrong with Japan's criminal justice system.  To wit:  presumption of guilt, extreme police powers of detention, jurisprudential incentives for using them, lack of transparency, records or accountability during investigation, and a successful outcome of a case hinging on arrest and conviction, not necessarily on proving guilt or innocence.  This has long since reached an extreme:  almost anything that goes to trial in a Japanese criminal court results in a conviction.


I have discussed this in the past on www.debito.org (see http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#arrested and http://www.debito.org/arrestperiods.html ), but the lesson to take home is:   


You get detained by police in Japan, you will get grilled.  And if during the weeks of grilling you give the police what they want (a signed confession), you will go to jail-- regardless of how much duress they put you under to extract it.


This is especially necessary for you to know as Japan's police continue to use racial profiling and foreigner targeting as public policy.  The chances of you being put under the desk lamp have never been higher.  I will have a Japan Times article out on one aspect of this next week.  Best wishes, Arudou Debito in Sapporo




Justice system flawed by presumed guilt

Rights advocates slam interrogation without counsel, long detentions


The Japan Times: Oct. 13, 2005





Kyodo News

Japan's criminal justice system lacks a fundamental notion that is manifest in other parts of the democratized world: the presumption of innocence, according to human rights advocates.


Suspects are still forced to make false confessions during interrogations in which legal representation is banned, and custody can last up to 23 days before charges are filed, lawyers and people who claim to have or were determined to have been falsely accused told a recent public meeting in Tokyo held by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.


Arrested suspects are often detained in a police "daiyo kangoku" substitute prison for up to 23 days before indictment, and release on bail is unlikely as long as they plead innocent or remain silent.


Tokyo lawyer Yoshihiro Yasuda, who was arrested in 1998 and charged with obstructing the compulsory seizure of building rental income used by his client as collateral, told the meeting, "The investigators shouted obscenities at me to extract a confession."


Yasuda claimed they told him it is cowardly to invoke the right to remain silent and said he should take responsibility as a lawyer. He was held for almost 300 days and found not guilty by the Tokyo District Court in 2003. Prosecutors appealed the ruling.


The verbal abuse is enough to alter a prisoner's mental state, even without the direct threat of physical violence, said Yasuda, a campaigner against the death penalty and the chief defense lawyer for Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara.


"Investigative authorities detain people not out of concern that they might destroy evidence or escape, but in order to force them to confess," he said.


Yasuda said that after he was charged he was transferred to a detention house and put under round-the-clock camera surveillance. "Still, the detention house was better than the substitute prison.


"How can we achieve the principle of presumption of innocence in Japan under such circumstances?" Yasuda asked.


Takao Sugiyama, who was once sentenced to life in prison for a 1967 robbery-murder in Ibaraki Prefecture, also suffered severe and unreasonable interrogations. "It is useless, whatever you say during a police investigation," he said.


He was paroled in 1996 after serving 29 years in prison since his arrest. His petition for a retrial was accepted by the Mito District Court in September.


"I told police that I was not involved in the case, but they claimed somebody had testified that I was, and that I would be hanged if I refused to come clean," Sugiyama said, referring to the "Fukawa Incident."


He finally broke down and confessed during police grilling, but he pleaded not guilty in court.


"No lawyers were available while I was in police custody. I believed judges would accept what I said, but I was wrong," he said.


As part of reform efforts, the JFBA has urged the government to abolish the substitute prison system, because the police control results in people being falsely accused, having their human rights violated and their right to counsel blocked.


"Pretrial detainees should be presumed innocent and thus guaranteed decent treatment as ordinary citizens, confined with minimal restrictions," the lawyer group said.


It has also called for the government to videotape interrogations so suspects will not be forced to confess and their rights will be fully guaranteed.


The Human Rights Committee under the United Nations expressed concerns over Japan's criminal justice system in 1998 in response to the government's fourth periodical human rights report.


The committee "strongly" recommended that reforms be made to the practice of holding detainees for 23 days without bail or full access to lawyers.


It also voiced concern over the substitute prison system, which, though subject to a branch of police not dealing with investigations, is not under the control of a separate authority. This can increase the chances of detainees' rights being abused.


Speaking at the Tokyo meeting, Makoto Teranaka, secretary general of Amnesty International Japan, said that Japan's criminal justice system does not meet international standards as it attaches too much importance on confessions and does not allow lawyers to accompany suspects during interrogations.


Teranaka also stressed that videotaping interrogations would have merit even for the investigative side, saying, "Investigators would be prepared if suspects change their statements and counter possible claims that suspects were physically abused or forced to make confessions."


Yasuda said, however, that the current system will not improve even if interrogations are recorded.


"While I was detained, friends advised me to plead guilty so I could be released on bail," he told the audience. "I want you to understand that being detained is horrible enough to make my friends tell me to admit to something I did not commit.


"It is necessary to terminate the substitute prison system, where investigators are allowed to treat suspects at their own discretion, and to improve the current criminal justice system, under which people are detained based on groundless reasons, including the fear of destroying evidence or escape," Yasuda said.


The Japan Times: Oct. 13, 2005


Japan Times and Asia Times articles on 2004 police Al-Qaeda witch hunt and Himu Case:

Introduction:  This is a case study on the emergent power of the Japanese Police Forces under a new "Conspiracy Law".  Documents are arranged to lead you through the issue:  A) "Japan Times (2005) on Detentions and Extralegal Powers..." (see above) describes how much power Japan's law enforcement has over criminal investigations and suspects (and how, with the police's tendencies towards racial profiling, this will lead to further foreigner targeting and scapegoating).  B) Asia Times, May 12, 2006, "The return of 'thought crimes' in Japan" describes what's wrong with the "Conspiracy Law" currently being debated by the Diet.  Then c) four Japan Times articles ("Terrorist kept calling Japan", "NPA report...", "I want to to clear my name...", "Alleged al-Qaeda link seeks vindication") depicting the Himu Case, of a Bangladeshi falsely accused in 2004 of having terrorist links. 

Point:  Even before any Conspiracy Law, the Japanese police already have used their extensive investigative and media powers to target and defame foreigners with very tenuous connections to the accused, destroying lives and livelihoods, offering no retraction or apology to set the record straight or rehabilitate the victim if mistakes are made.  Now, the likely passage of the Conspiracy Law , in this age of fears of terrorism (with "terrorism" explicitly seen as an overseas phenomenon by the National Police Agency; see Japan Times article May 24, 2005, "Here Comes the Fear", contained in Folder One), will grant powers to target foreigners even more.  Simply being a friend or neighbor, or even by chance having the same nationality of a foreign suspect, will be enough to warrant arrest on charges of possible "conspiracy", causing grueling detentions and destroyed reputations.



A good primer on a very controversial law, the Kyoubouzai Houan, currently being debated in the Diet, which the media and the lawyers groups have been railing against for quite some time now.  It's another step in the direction of the police-power state, which with enough fears stoked of terrorism may indeed come to pass if we are not careful.  Forwarding:

The return of 'thought crimes' in Japan
By Scott North
Asia Times May 12, 2006

Japan's government is pushing for the passage of an anti-conspiracy law with potentially far-reaching consequences. Called the Kyoubouzai Hoan (conspiracy or collusion law), the legislation appears headed for passage in the diet (parliament) as soon as next week. In its present form, it could result in Japanese citizens being detained or punished for merely agreeing with one another.

In combination with another statute that permits detention without charge, the new law could have a chilling effect on civil liberties, including freedoms of speech and assembly and the right to organize. Domestic critics of the plan say it evokes comparison with the pre-World War II Peace Preservation Law, which made opposing the war a thought crime. The proposed statute is a vaguely worded, two-sentence amendment to an existing law. It defines "conspiracy" as an agreement, whether overt or tacit, fanciful or earnest, between two or more people that might be construed as planning to violate any statute for which the minimum sentence is four years or more. There are currently 619 such statutes, and more could be added by changing the minimum sentence guidelines.

Lawyers say that a husband and wife imagining nefarious ways to get back at their landlord for raising their rent fit the amendment's definition of a "group" planning criminal activity. Labor-union members brainstorming ways to resist harsh workplace practices could be held for colluding to violate laws that prohibit interfering with business activity. Teens discussing how to hot-wire cars could be held on conspiracy charges even if they did not attempt to act on their knowledge.

Simply belonging to a group or being in the same room where such conversations take place could make a person subject to the new law. No crime need be actually carried out for the police to detain suspects. Failing to report overheard conspiratorial talk could be construed collusion.

In the postwar era, Japanese law has generally punished only crimes actually committed or attempted. In cases such as murder or arson, prison time is sometimes given to accomplices who knowingly provide weapons or gasoline. However, punishment for conspiracy alone has been limited to rare cases of sedition.

The statute promises co-conspirators who reveal plans to the police reduced sentences or immunity from prosecution. People fear the new law would encourage self-censorship or spying in non-profit organizations, churches, labor unions, and political groups. Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly, as well as protections against searches and seizures, could be rendered null. Various forms of cyber-communication could be mined for incriminating agreements.

Much would depend on enforcement. Japan's police have a well-documented tendency to assume the guilt of those detained and have been known to conduct lengthy interrogations aimed at extracting confessions, rather than exerting themselves in pursuit of corroborative evidence. New detention facilities currently under construction give domestic observers pause to consider the government's motives for bringing this law now. The ruling party's smug reluctance to acknowledge the amendment's shortcomings or extend debate on the matter is also cause for concern.

The rationale for the legislation is that Japan is a signatory to a United Nations treaty designed to stop international organized criminal activity. But the draft amendment makes no mention of the treaty, which Japan's UN representatives originally opposed as unnecessary. A Kyoto student group used Japan's version of the US Freedom of Information Act to get the transcripts of the committee that drafted the amendment. They reportedly received pages in which most of the text had been blackened out.

Japan already has domestic laws against organized criminal groups. The new conspiracy provision raises the specter that much daily speech and activity could be criminalized or made subject to police scrutiny, if not immediately, then at some time in the future.

Japan should reflect on the historical lesson that threats born of free thought and speech are nothing compared with the corrosive power of unchecked authority. One need look no further than Guantanamo Bay or Japan's own history for persuasive examples of why this amendment is unnecessary.

Scott North PhD is associate professor, Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University.

Terrorist kept calling Japan
Al-Qaeda member phoned Japanese, Muslims after exit

The Japan Times: Saturday, May 22, 2004

A senior al-Qaeda operative who hid from Interpol in the city of Niigata for more than a year made phone calls to two Japanese and 11 foreign Muslim men in Japan after he left the country last year, investigative sources said.

The latest investigations into Lionel Dumont, a 33-year-old French national of Algerian descent, revealed that the two Japanese -- a man in Yokohama's Hodogaya Ward and a woman in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture -- were among the 13 people Dumont called.

This is the first time details about the identities of the 13 have been made public.

The investigations show that Dumont, who was arrested in Germany last December, entered Japan on July 17, 2002, from Singapore with a forged French passport under the name Tinet Gerald Camille Armand.

His last exit from Japan, to Malaysia, was on Sept. 14, 2003. Records show he made a few trips to Germany and Malaysia during his stay in Japan.

Investigators are now investigating the Muslim men, their relationships with Dumont and their possible links with al-Qaeda. Many of them are married to Japanese and sell used cars, the sources said.

While in Niigata, Dumont was also a used-car dealer.

When Dumont made phone calls to the 11 men, they were living in a number of different locations, including Meguro, Shinjuku and Shibuya wards in Tokyo, sources said.

The sources said he also called Toda, Saitama Prefecture, Maebashi, Takasaki and Isesaki in Gunma Prefecture, Niigata and Toyosaka in Niigata Prefecture, and Shiojiri, Nagano Prefecture.

The 11 men come from Pakistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Guinea, where Muslims are a majority, the sources said, adding that most of them entered Japan in the mid-1990s or later.

Investigative sources also said Dumont opened a postal savings account under the name of Tinet and frequently remitted money to four or five of the 11 Muslim men.

The Japan Times: Saturday, May 22, 2004

Police round up five in al-Qaeda probe
The Japan Times: Thursday, May 27, 2004
Compiled from Kyodo, staff reports

Police on Wednesday arrested five men suspected of violating immigration and other laws as part of an investigation into an alleged senior member of the al-Qaeda terrorist network who spent time in Japan. Police raid an office Wednesday in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, as part of searches around Japan in connection with an alleged senior member of the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Arrested were Islam Mohamed Himu, 33, a Bangladeshi residing in Toda, Saitama Prefecture; Bangladeshi Ahmed Faishal, 26, of Kawaguchi; Kane Yaya, 41, a Mali national living in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward; construction worker Syed Naseer Syed Gaffar, 32, an Indian national living in the village of Higashi, Gunma Prefecture; and Md Muktar Hossain, a 29-year-old Bangladeshi living in Kawaguchi.

The arrests were made during searches of more than 10 locations in Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, Gunma and Niigata prefectures that included the homes and offices of foreign Muslims living in Japan.

It was recently learned that Lionel Dumont, 33, a French national of Algerian descent believed to be a senior al-Qaeda member, lived in Japan until September. He made telephone calls to these locations after he left Japan and before his arrest in Germany in December.

It is the first time that Japanese authorities have arrested people believed to be tied to key al-Qaeda members.

Faishal and Hossain were arrested for allegedly illegally entering Japan. Yaya and Gaffar were arrested on suspicion of overstaying their visas.

Police said Himu ran a cellular phone sales firm from his home, and sold prepaid cell phones from outlets in areas such as Tokyo's Akihabara district. Faishal was one of his employees.

Investigative sources said Dumont had frequently called Himu, who came to Japan in November 1995 and became a permanent resident after marrying a Japanese woman.

Himu was arrested for allegedly falsely stating in corporate registration documents in July that a 34-year-old Philippine woman was living in Japan and working as the representative director of a limited liability company in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. The woman had in fact left the country two months earlier.

Investigative sources said the police suspect that a network centered around Dumont was trying to establish a base in Japan to help al-Qaeda.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told a regular news conference in the morning that the government has information that al-Qaeda members have entered and left Japan to contact "various people."

"I have heard that the people who they had contacted have been identified to considerable extent," Hosoda said. "I sincerely hope that the truth behind their activities and intentions will be uncovered."

The police will investigate cash flows of Dumont and the others. Dumont is known to have opened a postal savings account from which he deposited and withdrew several hundred thousand yen on each of about 45 occasions during a one-month period after entering Japan in 2002, the sources said.

According to the investigations, Dumont used a forged French passport to enter Japan from Singapore under the name Tinet Gerald Gamille Armand on July 17, 2002. He was already on an Interpol wanted list.

The Japan Times: Thursday, May 27, 2004

NPA report lists the usual suspects: Islamic terrorists, Aum, Pyongyang

The Japan Times: Thursday, Dec. 9, 2004

International terrorist organizations run by Islamic extremists are expected to continue carrying out attacks worldwide, and the possibility of Japan becoming a target cannot be ruled out, the National Police Agency reckoned in an annual report on security released this week.

The agency's report for 2004 warns that Japan could be targeted, citing the repeated entries into Japan by French national Lionel Dumont, believed linked to al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists.

Dumont lived in Japan for about a year and traveled abroad from Japan several times on a fake passport, according to a police investigation.

The NPA report says, "The is a fear that terrorists may take advantage of the Islamic community in Japan."

Earlier this year, police arrested several people who had had contact with Dumont, alleging they committed immigration law violations and other offenses, as part of their probe into the Frenchman's activities.

Japan could possibly be used as a place to recruit terrorists, gather information and raise funds for terrorist groups, the NPA said in the report.

The report urges Japanese nationals to be cautious abroad because they could become victims of terrorism, citing the killing of freelance journalists Shinsuke Hashida and Kotaro Ogawa in an attack near Baghdad in May.

Last month, another Japanese, tourist Shosei Koda, was captured and later beheaded by terrorists who had demanded the withdrawal of the Ground Self-Defense Force troops from the southern Iraq city of Samawah.

On North Korea, the NPA report says the reclusive state will probably bolster its effort to normalize diplomatic relations with Japan in order to get economic support from Tokyo.

The report says the NPA will tighten security to counter North Korean agents and continue investigating the abductions of Japanese by North Korea in the late 1970s and 1980s.

The NPA has said in the past it suspects the North Korean ferry Mangyongbong-92, which calls at Niigata port to serve pro-Pyongyang Korean residents living in Japan, is involved in espionage and other illicit activities.

This week's report reiterates this allegation saying the ferry may be involved in secretly moving money and goods to North Korea, as well as bringing agents here.

The report also says continued caution is needed regarding Aum Shinrikyo.

It says there is a "danger" that the cult, whose members conducted the 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo and another nerve gas attack a year earlier, "could engage in organized illegal activities, as the cult has returned to its starting line" by emphasizing the authority of Shoko Asahara, the cult founder now on death row.

Asahara is currently appealing the death sentence handed down by the Tokyo District Court in February.

The Japan Times: Thursday, Dec. 9, 2004

'I want to clear my name and the name of my country'
High-profile arrest, low-key release spells disaster for Bangladeshi businessman and his compatriots living in Japan

The Japan Times: Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2004

One morning Islam Mohamed Himu woke up to find the Japanese media camped outside his home, and plainclothes police officers banging on his front door.

Islam Mohamed Himu says that he has "lost it all" since his arrest. "I am zero... no, not zero, minus."

"They arrested me in front of my wife, in front of my children. My wife was crying, my daughter was crying, I was crying. I told them 'you have made a mistake' but they arrested me by force."

So began a Kafkaesque ordeal for the 33-year-old Bangladeshi. The morning of his arrest he woke up the proud father of two young children and a successful businessman. Twenty-four hours later he was being interrogated in a police cell and the world's media were linking his face and name with international terrorism.

Himu wasn't to see his wife, son and daughter for another seven weeks and one day.

He was interrogated from morning till night 6 days a week, first in Kanagawa, then for 20 straight days without a break in Tokyo.

During that time, the media speculated excitedly (and wrongly) over the reasons for his arrest: that Himu was an al-Qaeda cell leader; that he was a money launderer and spy for the terrorist organization. Yet when Himu was released he was charged with nothing more than employing two illegal aliens, and was fined 300,000 yen.

Yet the confirmation of his innocence was met with a deafening silence from the very same media that had loudly relayed details of the police's investigation.

He says that his business has been destroyed, his reputation left in tatters. "I can't even send anything by express mail. I try to use my company's name and they say they cannot do business (with me). People still think I am in al-Qaeda."

The first hint Himu had that something was amiss came about a week before his arrest when a TV crew turned up at his office with a photograph of a man they wanted to know if Himu recognized.

Himu remembered him only as "Samir," a man he had met at a mosque in Gunma Prefecture in 1999.

In fact, the man in the photo was Lionel Dumont, a French national suspected of being linked to al-Qaeda and attempting to set up a terrorist cell in Tokyo.

Dumont had lived freely in Japan for several years before being arrested in Germany and extradited to France and was one of several hundred customers for Himu's pre-paid telephone card business. Himu says he had no knowledge of Dumont's alleged al-Qaeda links.

Himu's lawyer, Takeshi Furukawa believes that "the police neglected Mr. Himu's human rights, and publicly announced the allegation of his being a member of al-Qaeda to the mass media, though this allegation was completely unrelated to the reasons given for his arrest."

In short, Furukawa says that the police deliberately leaked details of their investigation to the press and implied that Himu was guilty.

The question is why?

Furukawa believes it was an attempt to save face on the part of the police.

The police had been shown up by their failure to apprehend Dumont -- and apparently even to know that he had been in Japan. "It was probably a complete loss of face for the police," he says. "They had to show the public that they were dealing with foreigners properly as well . . . the police used the media."

On the day of his arrest, the Asahi Shimbun reported on the police's investigation of Himu's office opposite Yokosuka base.

The article had a surprisingly detailed account of the police's actions: an unnamed source in the Kanagawa police was quoted as saying that a foreigner had been seen observing the U.S. naval base through binoculars from Himu's fourth floor office -- something Himu's lawyer dismisses as "completely made-up."

Himu says he chose the location in order to sell phone-cards to soldiers and other foreign nationals at the base, and that, in any case, the view of the base from his office is almost completely obscured by a signboard.

The police for their part have issued a statement to the media saying that "an appropriate investigation took place in adherence with the law."

[INSERTION FROM ARUDOU DEBITO:  Which means that under proposed new "Conspiracy Laws", even sharing the same nationality of a criminal suspect can be grounds for arrest for "conspiracy".]

But Himu's arrest didn't just mean personal disaster for him.

In the following weeks, hundreds of Bangladeshis in Tokyo were singled out for police attention on account of their nationality. And members of the Bangladeshi community say that the numbers of illegal Bangladeshi workers arrested and deported in June was some three times the average monthly amount.

"The police just shut their eyes to the illegal workers because they are necessary to the economy, but when something happens they crack down," says Monzurul Huq, a Tokyo-based Bangladeshi journalist. "Bangladeshis were very afraid the whole time Himu was under arrest."

Since the Japanese media has largely left reports linking Himu to al-Qaeda uncorrected, Japanese people who knew relatively little about Bangladesh in the first place, now associate the country with terrorism.

"Japanese people know that Bangladesh is a poor country and that they are sending Bangladesh help, but suddenly Bangladeshi has been tainted with al-Qaeda."

The problems started the day after Himu was arrested, says Bangladeshi businessman Dulal Chowdhory. "One of my staff's mother came to the office and said her daughter would stop working (for me) because maybe Bangladeshis are involved with al-Qaeda."

Journalist Huq organized a news conference to help Himu tell his story to the Western media, but he questions why the Japanese media has largely failed to correct their mistakes. "No one has apologized . . . is it because Himu comes from a poor third world country?"

Himu says that when he calls friends and businesses connections they ask him not to call again, fearing trouble from the authorities.

His 3-year-old daughter is still has been affected by the shock of seeing 14 police officers enter their home and take her father away by force. Himu's mother in Bangladesh has been sick in hospital since she heard of his arrest.

"I lost my trust, my company. I lost the company I named after my son," says Himu. "What money I had, I lost it all. I am zero . . . no, not zero, minus."

Yet, one Bangladeshi friend has some cold comfort for Himu. Despite his ruined livelihood and reputation, it could be worse, she says.

"At least he is free. If they had found anything at all they thought was suspicious, he could be in Guantanamo now."

Send your comments to: community@japantimes.co.jp
The Japan Times: Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2004

Alleged al-Qaeda link seeks vindication
Bangladeshi wants apology, claims he was falsely accused by police, press

The Japan Times: Saturday, April 2, 2005

A Bangladeshi businessman who was incorrectly alleged by police and the media last year as being linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist network is seeking vindication.

Investigators held Islam Mohamed Himu for 43 days but ultimately found he had no links to al-Qaeda.

Himu said that even since being freed, he has struggled to get his life and business back on track. He has filed a complaint of human rights violations with the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.

"I want to ask senior officials of the government or police: what was my fault?" Himu said in an interview.

"The Japanese police and media have destroyed my life," said the 34-year-old, who runs a telecommunications company in Tokyo.

"I want them to apologize and restore my life," he said, urging the government to help him obtain visas to make business trips to several countries that have barred his entry following the allegations.

Himu came to Japan in 1995 with his Japanese wife, whom he had met in Canada. After establishing a firm in Tokyo that mainly sells prepaid international phone cards, he obtained permanent residency in 2000.

Police arrested him last May 26 and issued a fresh warrant June 16. They alleged he had falsified a corporate registration and illegally hired two employees, including his brother.

While in custody, investigators mostly asked if he had any links to al-Qaeda, noting that a Frenchman suspected of being in al-Qaeda bought prepaid phone cards from him several times, according to Himu.

He said he tried to prove he had no connection with terrorists, telling police the Frenchman was one of several hundred customers and he had no idea the man used an alias.

However, police dismissed his claim, he said, and leaked to major media organizations, including Kyodo, their suspicions that he was involved with al-Qaeda, and all of them reported the allegations.

Himu said he believes police arrested him as a scapegoat even though they knew he had no link with al-Qaeda.

He was nabbed shortly after the media reported that the Frenchman had stayed in Japan in 2002 and 2003.

Prosecutors did not indict him on the first charge, while a court fined him 300,000 yen on the second charge. He was released on July 7.

Himu said the prosecutors' failure to indict proves he was not an al-Qaeda member, but it did not necessarily constitute a public apology.

All his employees left following the release of the sketchy police information, and he now has 120 million yen in debts due to the disruption of his business, he claimed.

The Japan Times: Saturday, April 2, 2005

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