A 41-year-old woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday for conspiring with her lover to kill her husband for insurance money.

The Tokyo District Court found Noriko Kimura guilty of murder and fraud in the fatal stabbing of her husband, Tsukiho, in March 1997.

“The action (of the defendant) amounted to trying to kill two birds with one stone in killing her husband, with whom she was not getting along, and then receiving insurance money,” presiding Judge Takao Nakayama said in handing down the sentence. “The selfish way in which she calmly took the life of her husband of over 10 years must be severely condemned,” he added. Prosecutors had demanded a 20-year prison term.

The court also sentenced Ken Yamada, a 29-year-old trucker who was a driver at the scene of the crime, to seven years’ imprisonment. Prosecutors had sought a 10-year sentence.

Kimura’s 40-year-old lover, who was considered the principle perpetrator of the crime, committed suicide at the Tokyo Detention House in October 1997 on the day his trial was to commence. He was not identified.

According to the court, Kimura and her lover, who ran his own business, conspired to fatally stab her 43-year-old husband in a parking lot in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward. After the husband’s death, Kimura received 8.5 million yen in insurance money. She also demanded that another 57 million yen be paid, but failed to receive it after the murder plot surfaced.

During her trial, Kimura’s counsel stressed that her actions were the result of blindly following the instructions of her lover, but the judge said that while that may have been true, her adultery also indirectly resulted in the crime. “The defendant also bore a criminal responsibility by playing such key roles as agreeing to the murder and providing a photograph of her husband,” he added.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.