Prosecutors said Thursday that they will not appeal the latest acquittals of a former nursery school principal and teacher accused of perjuring themselves to provide an alibi for a former colleague accused of murdering a student in 1974.

The decision, which follows last month’s acquittal of the defendants by the Osaka High Court, ended the 21-year criminal case — the longest in Japan’s history.

Kiyoshi Araki, 68, the former principal of Kabutoyama Gakuen, a now-defunct school for the mentally disabled in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, was acquitted Oct. 22; Iuko Tada, 55, a former teacher, was acquitted Oct. 29.

Both were charged with falsely testifying that they were with Etsuko Yamada, 48, another instructor at the school, at the time police alleged she killed one of two children found dead in a septic tank on school grounds.

All three were acquitted on three separate occasions, but their trials dragged on for more than two decades due to repeated appeals.

Prosecutors have now dropped their case against Yamada, acquitted for the final time on Sept. 29, some 25 years after the alleged murder took place.

The Osaka High Public Prosecutor’s Office told the Supreme Court that it was dropping all three cases because it could not find a justifiable reason for further appeals.

It also said it would review the length of the trials and take it as a lesson for achieving more timely justice.

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