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OSAKA — Two men pleaded guilty Monday to the fatal beating of a 26-year-old prospective groom from Fukuoka Prefecture who had come here in April last year to attend a ceremony marking the exchange of engagement gifts.

Tasuku Matsuoka, 24, and Taizo Nakasone, 23, were arrested after the victim’s family put up the money the man had saved for his wedding as a reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.

The pair were accused of beating Akihiro Koga of Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, in the entertainment district of Osaka’s Kita Ward in the early hours of April 22, 2001, during an argument.

At their first trial session before the Osaka District Court, the pair admitted inflicting injuries that resulted in Koga’s death, but also claimed the victim had thrown the first punches.

“We’ve done something that we can never undo, and we are sorry,” the defendants told the court in a statement.

According to prosecutors, Koga and Nakasone bumped into each other as they were walking down a street.

Nakasone then chided Koga, who did not speak the Kansai region dialect, reportedly saying: “What language are you speaking? Don’t speak English.”

The pair then proceeded to beat and kick Koga, continuing to trample on him even after he lay motionless on the ground, prosecutors said.

Passersby eventually broke up the row, they said.

Two days later, Koga died of his injuries.

His parents subsequently called on the public for information pertaining to the attack, offering as a reward the 3 million yen Koga had saved for his marriage.

Tipoffs later led to the arrest of the two men in February.

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