• Kyodo


The Yamaguchi District Court sentenced a former Maritime Self-Defense Force enlistee to a suspended 18-month prison term Thursday for using stimulant drugs on MSDF property in Kanagawa Prefecture in December.

Presiding Judge Masao Namiki ruled that former Petty Officer 3rd Class Masako Koike, 28, was guilty of using drugs she had bought from then Leading Seaman Masaru Inoue, 30. She had worked with Inoue at an MSDF base in Shimonoseki.

In April, Inoue was also sentenced to a suspended 18-month prison term for violating the Stimulant Drugs Control Law. Both Koike and Inoue, whose sentences were suspended for three years, were fired by the force.

Koike used the drug in a signal corps building at the MSDF Yokosuka District headquarters in Kanagawa Prefecture around Dec. 20, the court said.

She was stationed in Shimonoseki from January 1998 to June 2000, and bought the drugs from Inoue after she was transferred to Yokosuka, the court said.

Prosecutors had demanded an 18-month prison sentence for Koike.

The case against Lt.j.g. Kazumasa Kawajiri, 50, Koike’s superior, was turned over to prosecutors May 14. He allegedly destroyed evidence related to her possessing drugs in October.

Kawajiri allegedly flushed amphetamines found in Koike’s handbag down a toilet Oct. 24, according to an interim investigative report.

On Friday, the MSDF Maritime Staff Office imposed punishments, including suspensions, on Kawajiri and another three of Koike’s superiors.

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