• Kyodo

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The Tokyo District Court sentenced two men to two years in prison Thursday for their role in abducting a junior high school girl from a wealthy expensive residential district in the Tama area late last year.

Genki Miyagi and Ryunosuke Taba, both 24, were charged with snatching the girl off a street in the Denenchofu district of Ota Ward on Nov. 6, forcing her into a car and binding her hands and feet.

A third man, suspected ringleader Hiroaki Hata, 44, then allegedly called the girl’s home and demanded a ransom from her family. Hata has been indicted on charges including kidnapping for ransom and is still in the pretrial stage.

The girl was later found in a parked car with two of the men in a neighboring city by a police officer who did not know about the kidnapping but was on the lookout for cars with stolen license plates.

In handing down the sentences, the presiding judge, Kenji Koike, said the pair played an important role in the crime at Hata’s command and had “severely affected the victim’s physical and mental health and created unease in the community.”

Prosecutors had sought five-year sentences for the two. Their defense counsel argued they were just following Hata’s instructions.

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