• Kyodo

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The Toyama District Court ordered the Toyama Prefectural Government on Monday to pay some ¥19.66 million in damages to a man who was cleared of rape charges, citing irregularities in the police investigation.

The plaintiff, Hiroshi Yanagihara, 47, had sought some ¥104 million in damages from both the central and prefectural governments.

A three-judge panel headed by Judge Asako Ata found numerous problems with the police investigation, including the coercion of Yanagihara into making a false confession.

But it rejected his demand for damages from the central government, saying there was no illegality in prosecutors’ filing of criminal charges against him.

The prosecutors could not be held responsible for failing to recognize at the time that the case against Yanagihara resulted from a false confession, according to the ruling.

Yanagihara was working as a taxi driver when he was arrested in April 2002 on suspicion of attempted rape and was arrested again the following month on suspicion of raping a different victim.

He was sentenced to three years in prison but was freed in January 2005 after serving almost two years.

Yanagihara was then acquitted in a retrial.

During the damages suit trial, he complained of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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