• Kyodo


The Hiroshima High Court upheld the 10-year prison term meted out to a gangland figure who shot and seriously wounded a U.S. serviceman in Hiroshima’s commercial district in October — reportedly because he became annoyed when the victim stared at him.

Presiding Judge Toshikazu Obuchi dismissed the appeal lodged by Tomoyuki Matsumoto, 37, a former ranking member of an underworld group, describing the attack as “vicious” and “in disregard for human life.”

The high court also recognized that Matsumoto had intended to kill Eric Heinz, 21, a U.S. Navy petty officer 3rd class stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, saying it was fortuitous that the victim had survived.

Matsumoto faced attempted murder and other charges.

According to the Hiroshima District Court ruling on April 19, Matsumoto fired at Heinz with a semiautomatic pistol on Oct. 26 when Heinz and two other U.S. servicemen were walking on a street in Naka Ward.

He hit Heinz in the buttocks, seriously wounding him.

After the shooting, Matsumoto turned himself in at a police station, saying he had shot Heinz because he was annoyed at being stared at by the victim, who had cut in front of his car.

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