National / Crime & Legal

Former judge convicted in stalking case gets legal license restored

Kyodo

The Judge Impeachment Court set at the Diet said Wednesday it has decided to restore the legal license of a former judge who was dismissed in 2008 after being convicted of stalking a female subordinate and sending her threatening emails.

In the decision dated May 17, the impeachment court presided over by Upper House member Hiromi Yoshida said Yoshiharu Shimoyama, the 63-year-old former judge, had deeply reflected on his behavior and the court saw an improvement in his behavior.

The court can decide to reinstate a legal license more than five years after a dismissal ruling if it finds reasonable grounds to do so. It is the fourth case in which the court, consisting of 14 Diet members, decided to restore the license and the first such decision since 1986.

According to the ruling handed down in December 2008 that ordered his dismissal, Shimoyama sent a total of 16 messages to the woman’s mobile phone that appeared to threaten her life between February and March that year when he headed the Tsuru branch of the Kofu District Court and Family Court in Yamanashi Prefecture.

A majority of the 14 lawmakers on the court supported the reinstatement of Shimoyama’s license. The court said he would contribute to society by working as a lawyer helping children facing difficulties attending school because of illnesses and that it is desirable his license be restored soon.

In June 2008, Shimoyama, then a judge at the Utsunomiya District Court, was indicted on a charge of violating an anti-stalking law and was later given a six-month prison term, suspended for two years.