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Kitakyushu man guilty of hoarding weapons

Kyodo

A Kitakyushu man was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for stockpiling weapons, including an anti-tank rocket launcher.

Kengo Kishira, 38, who described himself as a construction worker, was convicted in the Fukuoka District Court of violating regulations to control explosives and the Firearm and Sword Control Law.

Kishira was indicted after police found a Russian-made rocket launcher and other weapons in a Kitakyushu warehouse that he owned.

According to the indictment, on June 28, 2012, police discovered the rocket launcher along with five handguns and 58 bullets in the warehouse.

Prosecutors had sought a 15-year sentence for Kishira, who pleaded not guilty.

Kishira’s lawyers claimed he did not know about the weapons stored at the warehouse.

In the ruling, Judge Koji Hiratsuka pointed out that Kishira was the only one who accessed the warehouse on a daily basis, “strongly suggesting his involvement.”

Local media also reported that police confirmed the rocket launcher was loaded.

It measured 70 cm in length and 7 cm in diameter, according to the media reports.

The weapon was found the same day the police arrested Kishira on suspicion of his involvement in an auto-insurance fraud. Following the arrest, they investigated locations linked to him, which led to the discovery of the weapons.

Kishira was charged with defrauding ¥550,000 from an insurance company over a damaged car he owned. The car was damaged by a concrete block that Kishira allegedly dropped from the seventh floor of a condominium.