• Kyodo


A man who mailed a hand grenade to a buyer only to have it explode and injure a parcel delivery worker received a suspended 10-month prison term Friday.

Norihisa Kotani, 32, who collected shells and grenades from a firing range used by the Ground Self-Defense Force and the U.S. military at the foot of Mount Fuji and sold them via the Internet, caused the explosion at a branch office of Yamato Transport Co. in Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture, on June 30, the Numazu branch of the Shizuoka District Court ruled.

A part-time parcel sorter sustained injuries that needed three weeks to heal.

Prosecutors demanded that Kotani be sentenced to 10 months in prison on a charge of negligence resulting in injury, saying his actions were careless.

Presiding Judge Mayumi Niioka ruled that Kotani’s acts showed a total lack of common sense and put many people in potential danger.

Kotani “was of the naive belief that there could be no live shells among the weapons (he collected) and failed to take proper precautions,” the judge said, adding that the explosion could have been avoided had a little more care been taken.

At the same time, however, Niioka noted that the defendant is repentant and has reached a settlement with the injured party, and thus suspended his sentence for four years.

Kotani, an automobile sheet metal worker from Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture, pleaded guilty to the charge during the first and only session of his trial on Oct. 10.

He was initially arrested July 1 on suspicion of violating a law against explosives. But prosecutors did not indict Kotani on that charge because he claimed he had no idea the grenade might explode, as he believed it was a dud that contained no gunpowder.

Police confiscated some 520 shells and grenades from his home and a used military materials shop on his property, as well as in parcels seized on their way to other customers.

Kotani had sold weapons to 11 customers in eight prefectures.

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