• Kyodo

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A 54-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in for indiscriminately drugging people with narcotic-laced drinks as they climbed mountains, molesting some and causing injury to others.

Toshiaki Nomura, a shiatsu practitioner from Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, was sentenced by the Otsu District Court.

Between June and July 2000, Nomura approached 10 people as they made their way up mountains in Shiga Prefecture’s Hira Range and offered them canned coffee and other drinks that he had drugged.

He molested four women after they passed out. Another couple, while still feeling the effects of the drug, fell into a ravine and were seriously injured.

Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year prison term after charging Nomura with inflicting injury, violating the stimulant control law and attempted rape.

Presiding Judge Yoshitaka Onishi opted, however, to charge Nomura with the abandonment of guardian responsibilities resulting in injury, instead of simply inflicting injury. The judge noted that Nomura’s actions were premeditated and pointed out the dangers of drugging people and then abandoning them.

Nomura betrayed the bond of trust that exists among mountain climbers, according to the judge.

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