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OSAKA — The Osaka High Court acquitted an ex-nursery school teacher of perjury Friday in the trial concerning the alibi of former colleague Etsuko Yamada, 48, who had been charged with killing a 12-year-old boy in 1974 but was cleared three times.

Iuko Tada, 55, was also acquitted for the third time, following the third acquittal of Kabutoyama Gakuen’s former principal, Kiyoshi Araki, also charged with perjury.

Tada had been charged with falsely testifying that she was with Yamada at the time police alleged Yamada killed one of two children found dead in a septic tank on the grounds of the now-defunct school for the mentally disabled.

Upholding a Kobe District Court ruling, Judge Motoyasu Kawakami of the high court said, “The prosecutors’ allegation that Tada had made up an alibi (for Yamada) is not based on any evidence and is wrong.”

Tada’s acquittal is considered final, sources said.

She was charged in 1978 with making false testimony under oath during a court session on a state compensation suit filed by Yamada over her first arrest of 1974, which did not result in an indictment.

The Kobe District Court found Tada not guilty in November 1987, but the Osaka High Court sent the case back to the district court in January 1993 after examining an appeal by prosecutors. The lower court again acquitted her in March 1998.

Yamada was first arrested in April 1974, about one month after a boy and a girl were found drowned at the nursery school in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture.

The boy disappeared two days after the girl vanished at the school.

Yamada, then 22, was arrested on suspicion of murdering the boy. Investigators reckoned, however, that the girl’s death was an accident.

Prosecutors dropped the case in 1975 due to insufficient evidence but reopened the probe following an inquest a year later.

Prosecutors then served a fresh warrant on Yamada in February 1978, and also arrested Tada and Araki.

They alleged Yamada killed the boy to “camouflage her responsibility” for the death of the girl, who they claim fell into the tank while Yamada was on night duty, they said.

They argued that Yamada believed she would be held less responsible for the girl’s death if a similar accident occurred while someone else was on night duty.

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