21-year prison term upheld for EX-NHK reporter found guilty of rapes
A high court upheld Thursday a lower court ruling that sentenced a former reporter for Japanese public broadcaster NHK to 21 years in prison for raping three women.
The defense for 30-year-old Yasutaka Tsurumoto claimed someone with a grudge against the former journalist may have left materials carrying his DNA at the crime scenes, but the Sendai High Court rejected Tsurumoto’s appeal.
In handing down the ruling, Presiding Judge Fumio Shimahara said, “No involvement of a third party was possible as materials derived only from the defendant were detected.”
According to the rulings, Tsurumoto broke into the residences of the women in their 20s and sexually assaulted them in three separate incidents -- in Yamagata Prefecture, northeastern Japan, in February 2016, and in Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo, in October 2014 and December 2013 -- with victims sustaining injuries in two of the incidents.
Following the high court ruling, Tsurumoto’s lawyer said he is planning to file an appeal with the Supreme Court.
Tsurumoto worked at the Kofu and Yamagata bureaus after he was hired by NHK in 2011. He was dismissed in February 2017.
The defense denied the rape allegations at the Yamagata District Court and the high court