Pair sent up for passing fake coins

Kyodo

The Fukuoka District Court sentenced two men to prison terms of five and seven years Thursday for using fake 500 yen coins smuggled from China.

Junichi Tosaka, 46, was given seven years for smuggling a large number of the coins and using them in post offices in Tokyo, Fukuoka and Kumamoto prefectures. Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year term. Yuji Uchida, 47, was sentenced to five years for using the coins in the three prefectures. Prosecutors had argued he should receive six years.

Presiding Judge Toshiyuki Tani said the two men should be severely punished because their offenses “constitute only a fraction of the repeated crimes they committed.”

Their crime has “significantly undermined the public’s confidence in currency,” the judge reckoned.

According to the court, Tosaka, conspiring with Furukawa, smuggled in 18,000 fake 500 yen coins from southern China’s Fujian Province at the end of last year, hiding them in metal pipes.

Tosaka and Uchida deposited 1,032 fake coins between Jan. 22 and 25 in their post office accounts in the cities of Kumamoto and Fukuoka and Tokyo’s Sumida Ward. They immediately withdrew the money to get authentic notes.