A trial that started in 1946 and was continuously resurrected to prevent the statute of limitations from running out while the defendant remained at large was formally dismissed Friday.The defendant, who was not named and who would be 76 years old now, was arrested Feb. 24, 1945, after he pulled a knife and attacked Taketora Ogata, a state minister in the wartime Cabinet of Prime Minister Kuniaki Koiso, while he was attending a meeting of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association.The accused assailant was granted bail but failed to appear at his first hearing on Oct. 7, 1946. He was never heard from again.According to prosecutors, the attacker wanted to launch a new national movement to change the war situation and plotted the attack on Ogata as part of a scheme to topple the Koiso government. Ogata, who had served as editor in chief of Asahi Shimbun, was then a state minister and head of the Cabinet Information Bureau, which controlled the mass media.Because the man was indicted under a now-defunct special wartime criminal law, the statute of limitations runs out 15 years after the last trial session. To keep the statute active for 52 years, prosecutors had the Tokyo District Court hold trial sessions shortly before each time it was to expire. This time, prosecutors allowed the statute to run out because the crime had occurred so many years ago, and the defendant, if still alive, would be an old man.

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