National / Crime & Legal

24-year prison term sought for ex-NHK reporter accused of serial rapes

Kyodo

Prosecutors on Wednesday demanded a 24-year prison term for a former reporter with public broadcaster NHK, who was accused of raping three women in their 20s.

Prosecutors said at the Yamagata District Court that Yasutaka Tsurumoto, 29, has not shown repentance for committing “vicious” crimes, and argued that there is a risk of him offending again.

Asked by prosecutors about his state of mind as he took notes during his own trial, Tsurumoto said he could not understand why he was named as the culprit and “wanted to grasp the overall picture of the trial.” He denied the charges.

During the trial prosecutors pointed out that DNA samples taken at the three crime scenes matched DNA samples taken from Tsurumoto.

The ruling will be delivered next Wednesday.

According to the indictment, Tsurumoto broke into the residences of the three women on separate occasions — in February 2016 in the city of Yamagata as well as two in Yamanashi Prefecture in October 2014 and December 2013 — and sexually assaulted them. Two of them were injured in the incidents.

Tsurumoto worked at a bureau of Japan Broadcasting Corp., popularly known as NHK, in Yamanashi Prefecture between 2011 and 2015, before transferring to another bureau in Yamagata Prefecture in July 2015.

NHK dismissed Tsurumoto in February 2017 following his arrest.