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OSAKA — A 35-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for robbing 16 women and raping nine of them in Osaka between 1998 and 2001.

The Osaka District Court handed down the sentence to Toshiaki Tanaka, a jobless man indicted on charges ranging from armed robbery and rape in nine cases, six cases of armed robbery and attempted rape and one case of armed robbery and assault.

Presiding Judge Hiroshi Furuta said Tanaka committed “a despicable crime in treating women as tools to satisfy his sexual appetite.”

Some of the rape victims suffered facial injuries and one woman lost the sight in her left eye, the judge pointed out.

According to the ruling, Tanaka threatened the women at knifepoint and raped them before stealing cash and other valuables between June 1998 and July 2001.

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