• Kyodo


Two men were sentenced Thursday to life in prison for the murder of elder brother of renowned jazz saxophonist Sadao Watanabe last September.

The men were also convicted of stealing dozens of antique items, such as scabbards for Japanese swords.

In handing down the ruling at the Utsunomiya District Court, presiding Judge Susumu Iibuchi said the crime was “cruel and inhumane,” adding that the two men had planned in advance to murder Tokio Watanabe and steal from him, taking steps such as obtaining adhesive tape.

According to the ruling, 61-year-old Bunichi Taguchi and 62-year-old Katsumi Naka killed Watanabe, 81, at his home in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, after stealing his Japanese sword collection on Sept. 7, 2002.

Watanabe died after Taguchi and Naka covered his head with a plastic bag and rolled adhesive tape around it, the ruling said.

Watanabe was known as a sword collector. He was 12 years older than his brother, a jazz pioneer in Japan who has gained worldwide acclaim.

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