National / Crime & Legal

University of Tokyo student who co-founded club for molesting women given suspended sentence

by Shusuke Murai

Staff Writer

The Tokyo District Court Tuesday sentenced a University of Tokyo student and co-founder of a club whose goal it was to molest women to two years in prison, suspended for four years, for participating in a gang-style sexual assault on a female undergraduate.

According to the ruling, Kensuke Matsumi, 22, a student at one of the nation’s top universities, conspired with four other men from the school in May to forcibly intoxicate the female student in order to sexually assault her. Matsumi and two others were indicted over the incident.

In April, Matsumi, along with others from the school, formed a social club that translates into English as The University of Tokyo Birthday Research Group, with the goal of intoxicating and molesting women.

At around midnight on May 11, they deliberately got the victim intoxicated and forced her to strip naked. They then proceeded to grope her upper body and forcibly kissed her while lying on her back, according to the ruling. For his part, Matsumi was accused of slapping her on the back numerous times, using a hair dryer to blow hot air on her genitals and pouring a cup of hot ramen noodles on her breasts.

Presiding Judge Hajime Shimada said that what the defendant did was worthy of strong condemnation because it disrespects the victim. The judge went on to say, however, that there is room for rehabilitation because the student had expressed remorse for his actions.

Matsumi, wearing a white shirt and black trousers, looked on at the judge emotionless and nodded occasionally as his sentence was read.

Meanwhile, the court earlier Tuesday also sentenced Taichi Komoto, 22, one of the students who took part in the incident, to one year and six months in prison, suspended for three years.

During the trial, Komoto admitted that while attending the University of Tokyo he began to look down on female students from other universities as “being intellectually inferior” and worthy targets for molestation, according to media reports.

Another of the accused, Koki Matsumoto, is also standing trial.

The incident follows similar past sexual assaults involving alcohol that were perpetrated by students from reputable universities.

In 2003, former Waseda University student Shinichiro Wada, who headed a now-defunct rape club called Super Free, was charged with gang-raping women. The incident prompted legislators to toughen penalties for sex crimes.

And in 2006, members of the Kyoto University American football team were convicted of forcing female university students to drink to the point of unconsciousness in order to rape them.