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Japan Times forgot to include the judgment recently handed down in a sumo death as one of the most important news events of 2008. Three senior sumo wrestlers who admitted to beating a 17-year-old child to death after tormenting and torturing the victim for hours on end received only a suspended sentence (“Trio avoid prison in sumo killing,” Dec. 19).

In any of the other Group of Seven countries, such a traumatic criminal case would have caused a public outcry. In Japan the public seems to be completely apathetic. The court ignored the fact that a child was abducted against his will, forced to return to a sumo training camp, beaten about the face and body with blunt objects, tied to a chair while being beaten, tortured with lit cigarettes and then brutally assaulted during a training session the following day until he collapsed and died. Yet the assailants were given a “suspended sentence” (the presiding judge said “it was difficult” for the three to disobey their stable master.)

What absurdity. Saito Takashi is dead and buried in a cold grave; his killers are spending the holidays with family and friends. Justice in Japan.

robert mckinney

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