• Kyodo


The Yokohama District Court on Tuesday sentenced a former Kanagawa Prefectural Police sergeant to three years in prison, suspended for five years, for attempted blackmail and the illegal retrieval of private information.

Prosecutors had demanded a three-year prison term for Mikio Tsukamoto, 49, who was found guilty of extorting cash from a female police officer by blackmailing her with a seminude photograph and forging an official document.

Presiding Judge Hiroshi Yamura said that in light of the recent spate of controversies involving the Kanagawa Prefectural Police force, the defendant’s act was “deliberate and contemptible.”

The judge also said Tsukamoto cannot escape society’s condemnation of acts that have undermined public trust in the police and hurt the morale of other police officers.

According to the ruling, Tsukamoto, who was working at Totsuka police station in October when the blackmailing incident took place, conspired with a former police chief to send the threatening letter to the woman.

The letter, sent together with a seminude photo, demanded that she pay about 1.76 million yen, the ruling stated.

His accomplice, 45, received a two-year prison term, suspended for four years.

Last August, another former police officer working at a security company asked him to obtain information on two men from residency applications they had submitted to their local ward offices.

Tsukamoto, under the pretense of an investigation, retrieved the information on the individuals from two ward offices in Fukuoka city, it said.

He is the sixth police officer to be punished following a series of offenses committed by the prefectural force.

Autograph seekers hit

Tokyo police have issued warnings to a 48-year-old sergeant and a 21-year-old patrolman based at Motofuji station in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward for seeking autographs from Yomiuri Giants slugger Hideki Matsui while on duty at the Tokyo Dome, police said Tuesday.

At about 10:40 p.m. on April 1, the two, stationed at a police box near the stadium, entered the parking lot of the stadium. The police sergeant called out to Matsui, who was passing them in a car, and asked the baseball player for his autograph, police said.

The Tokyo Dome is under the jurisdiction of neighboring Tomisaka station and the two officers had no reason to visit the Tokyo Dome on that day.

“It was thoughtless of them to ask a passing player for his autograph. We will strictly warn our forces against similar acts,” an official of the Motofuji station said.