The Tokyo District Court sentenced a 39-year-old man Aug. 12 to a 12-year prison term for gunning down a doctor at a railway station in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, in October 1994 because he felt he had been the victim of malpractice by the surgeon.
The defense counsel for Masami Nomoto, 39, claimed their defendant was not of sound mind at the time of the killing and should not be held liable for the murder.
Although Nomoto underwent a hernia operation at Tokyo Metropolitan Taito Hospital, he experienced complications and believed he had been used as a human guinea pig, according to the court. Nomoto often visited the hospital afterward to protest.
On Oct. 25, 1994, Nomoto ambushed Dr. Takejiro Okazaki, 47, who carried out the operation, at Aomono Yokocho Station on the Keihin Kyuko Line in Shinagawa Ward and shot him from behind with a handgun, the court said.
Presiding Judge Hideaki Mikami said that although the defendant was suffering delusions at the time of the shooting, he was still able to judge right from wrong.
Prosecutors had demanded a 15-year prison term, claiming Nomoto was only feeble-minded at the time.
Mikami pointed out that Nomoto test fired the gun and parked a get-away scooter near the scene of the crime. He also bought a portable radio to find out how the mass media covered the slaying and checked into a hotel under an alias, the judge said, pointing out that the defendant thus appeared to be acting rationally.
After the killing, police put Nomoto on a nationwide wanted list.
Although Nomoto had been admitted to a mental hospital, police disclosed his name and photograph because they believed he was still armed with the gun and posed a further threat to society.
Nomoto later visited a television station and handed over a letter describing the crime.
Police arrested him at JR Minami Urawa Station three days after the attack as he was on his way home.
During the pretrial investigation, Hideo Hozaki, a professor emeritus at Keio University, carried out a psychiatric test on Nomoto and concluded he had the ability to judge right from wrong.
Prosecutors indicted him based on this conclusion.
After the trial started, another psychiatric test was carried out by Masahiko Saito, a lecturer at the University of Tokyo, at the request of the defense. Saito concluded that Nomoto suffered from schizophrenia and lacked the ability to judge right from wrong.