• Kyodo

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The Wakayama District Court sentenced a 36-year-old man Friday to seven years in prison for attempted fraud as well as inciting and abetting the suicide of his 34-year-old adopted son.

Kenichi Fujitaki demanded that his adopted son, Hiroshi, two years his junior, kill himself to gain insurance money. Hiroshi drove his car off a pier in the town of Hidata, Wakayama Prefecture, on the night of Oct. 13, 2003.

Fujitaki began beating Hiroshi and pressuring him to commit suicide around September 2003. After Hiroshi finally agreed on Oct. 13, Fujitaki took him to the pier and made him drive into the sea.

Fujitaki then pretended the death was an accident and tried to claim 25 million yen from an insurance firm in December.

Presiding Judge Michinori Kawata said, “There are no words to describe the misery of the victim, who was used (by the defendant) because of his timid nature, gradually lost the will to live through cruel treatment and was forced into committing suicide.”

Prosecutors had demanded a 10-year prison term.

Hiroshi, whose former surname was Umino, repeatedly took out loans after being threatened by Fujitaki. He became Fujitaki’s adopted son so he could change his surname and evade loan collectors.

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