Masaharu Katsuno says he survived a decade in an Australian prison because he held out hope that he, his two brothers and their two friends -- all convicted heroin smugglers -- would someday be exonerated of their crimes.

Although Katsuno completed his sentence and returned to Japan in 2002, he like his four fellow convicts, including his younger brother, Yoshio, 48, who remains in prison, continue to maintain their innocence.

Now 12 years after the initial arrests, which were widely reported in Japan when the case broke in 1992, their lawyers plan to take legal steps in Australia this fall to get the case be re-examined.