• Kyodo


An underworld figure was sentenced to death Monday for two slayings, including one during a robbery, within a span of three weeks.

The Utsunomiya District Court ruled that Ryoji Goto, 44, a former senior underworld figure, conspired with five others to hold four people at gunpoint in a local apartment on Aug. 20 and 21, 2000.

The four were tied up and injected with a large amount of stimulants, which killed one of them, Masumi Kobayashi, a 24-year-old restaurant employee.

Goto stabbed and wounded the other three in the chest with scissors and stole their wristwatches and a car before setting fire to the apartment.

Goto was also convicted of conspiring with another gangster to kill an acquaintance: Shoji Saito, 33, an unemployed resident of Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Saito died after being thrown into the Nakagawa River from a bridge in Mito with his hands and feet tied. Goto killed Saito because he didn’t like his attitude.

Presiding Judge Susumu Iibuchi said Goto’s actions were grave, claiming two lives within the span of just three weeks. “There is no room for leniency,” Iibuchi said. “The role (of the defendant) is decisively large, as he was the ringleader in coming up with and carrying out the crimes.”

The judge also rejected Goto’s claim that he had no intention of robbery, saying it was clear that he instructed his subordinates to search the victims for valuables.

Goto immediately filed an appeal.

Killer handed life term

NAGOYA (Kyodo) The Nagoya District Court sentenced a man Monday to life in prison for killing and robbing a former coworker in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, last year.

Rokutaro Takagi, 56, stabbed 74-year-old Kohei Ishihara to death and stole his bank book and personal seal at his home Feb. 9, 2002, the court said. Three days later, Takagi withdrew 580,000 yen from Ishihara’s account.

Takagi claimed he had not planned to murder Ishihara.

But presiding Judge Takehiko Hori said Takagi had evidenced a strong intent to kill Ishihara, who had lent him money. In this regard he noted that he had used a knife and two types of scissors, and had stabbed him with “considerable force.”

“It was a selfish crime and there is no room for leniency,” Hori said.

Ishihara had reportedly supported Takagi in many ways, helping him to find work and lending him money.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.