A Buddhist priest was sentenced Monday to 14 months imprisonment, suspended for four years, for threatening to expose a female high school student’s prostitution activities unless she told police that she was lying about his involvement in teenage prostitution.

The Tokyo District Court found Kenichi Aitani, 45, guilty of threatening a witness and attempted extortion. According to the ruling, Aitani was arrested and issued a summary order in December 1997 for violating a Tokyo Metropolitan Government ordinance that prohibits being a “customer” of a prostitute who is a minor. He was fined 300,000 yen at the time.

In an effort to appeal, Aitani approached the 17-year-old girl last February and demanded that she sign a document saying her statement to police on the case was false. He threatened to tell her school and family of the incident if she did not comply, but she did not bend to the threats, according to sources close to the case.

Aitani was the first person to be arrested under the Tokyo ordinance.

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