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A man was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison Thursday for his role in the 1999 murder of a 21-year-old college student in Okegawa, Saitama Prefecture.

The Saitama District Court found Satoshi Kawakami, 34, guilty for his part in the killing of Shiori Ino, who died in a knife attack Oct. 26, 1999, on a street near JR Okegawa Station. She was a student at Atomi College.

Four people were accused of conspiring to kill Ino.

Yoshifumi Kubota, 37, actually stabbed Ino and has been sentenced to 18 years in prison. Yoshitaka Ito, 35, kept a lookout during the attack and has been sentenced to 15 years. Kawakami drove Kubota to the scene of the murder.

Takeshi Komatsu, 35, the brother of Ino’s ex-boyfriend, is currently on trial.

According to prosecutors, Kawakami also conspired with Komatsu and the others to post fliers containing libelous statements about Ino near the woman’s home in July 1999.

Kawakami’s lawyers said their client should be charged with injury leading to death, claiming the four conspired to harm Ino but did not intend to kill her.

Before her murder, Ino had pleaded with police to investigate her former boyfriend, Kazuhito Komatsu, whom she claimed was stalking her.

He was found dead in January 2000 near a lake in Hokkaido. He was on a police wanted list at the time.

Saitama police came under fire for doing nothing to about Ino’s complaint. Three former officers were handed suspended sentences for doctoring Ino’s formal investigation request to avoid having to follow up on her complaint.

Kitchen-knife killer

SENDAI (Kyodo) A 29-year-old man was sentenced to 16 years in prison Thursday for fatally stabbing a male friend of his former girlfriend here in January.

The Sendai District Court handed down the sentence to Keiji Komatsu, of no fixed address.

On Jan. 20, Komatsu saw his ex-girlfriend and Shoji Nakamura, a 27-year-old office worker from Hokkaido, walking near her home. Komatsu attacked Nakamura with a kitchen knife before trying to strangle his ex-girlfriend.

Presiding Judge Eiichi Homma said, “The crime, committed in a fit of anger, was self-centered and there is no room for leniency.”

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