Going onto the Supreme Court Stage,Bringing in a Speedy Judgement of Not Guilty!

An innocent death row inmate, serving a historically unprecedented length of imprisonment for 48 years (17,388 days), certified in the Guinness Book of World Records!

Mr. Iwao Hakamata is innocent. Moreover, he is the victim of a wrongful conviction. He was falsely accused, sentenced to death and forced to live in prison for 48 years since he was arrested at the age of 30. The imprisonment, with a length of 17,388 days was so historically cruel and unprecedented that it was certified in the Guinness Book of World Records. This fact is now attracting the world’s attention as a violation of human rights. It is nothing but a shameful stain on the national honor of Japan.

The Hakamata Incident is a case of wrongful conviction. He was indicted as a criminal based on a forced confession, that was like torture, conducted by the investigation agency i.e. the police and the prosecutors, who fabricated and concealed evidence. Then, at the first hearing, the Shizuoka District Court had him sentenced to death. Furthermore, the Tokyo High Court upheld this decision and, after that, the Supreme Court confirmed it. Therefore, this is nothing but a crime committed by the State!

Among the police, the prosecutors and the judges, there might be someone who kept Mr. Hakamata’s innocence a secret. Weren’t they guilty of failing to act with such willful negligence? His life took a turn for the worse and went through hell on earth for 48 years. He is the victim of a case of wrongful conviction who has been burdened with the incomparably cruel and severe punishment of being a death row inmate.

Mr. Hakamata said in a letter to his son which was sent from prison,
“Your Dad never killed anyone and it is the police who know about it the most and it is the judge who regrets it the most.”

The Hakamata Incident is a case of wrongful conviction and he is being  supported by the Defense Counsel for the Hakamata Incident which was organized by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. We are petitioning the court to open a retrial and to acquit him as soon as possible and we are also seeking support for Mr. Hakamata from all the people of Japan.

The decision of opening a retrial, the suspension of his detention and death sentence, for the first time in 48 years!
After an immediate appeal against the ruling by the prosecutors, their appeal was upheld by the Tokyo High Court, reversing the decision of opening of a retrial, but still allowing him to live outside prison.
Then, the Defense Counsel filed a special appeal to the Supreme Court.

On March 27, 2014, the Shizuoka District Court decided on opening a retrial and at the same time the suspension of his detention and his death sentence. Mr. Hakamata was released from prison on that day of the decision as if justice had just breathed life again.

However, the damage which he has suffered physically and mentally is serious, even though he has started to lead a free and peaceful life with his sister, Ms. Hideko Hakamata in his hometown.

His prison life, which was too long, as a death row inmate was like a daily torture beyond our imagination. Although five years have passed since he was released, his lacerated heart cannot be easily healed. Even now his sufferings from such a severe trial continue, and his social position as a death row inmate remains unchanged.

The Shizuoka District Public Prosecutor’s office filed an immediate appeal to the Tokyo High Court objecting to the last decision of the Shizuoka District Court. After five years’ examination, the Tokyo High Court has ruled out the opening of a retrial, while keeping the suspension of his detention and his death sentence unchanged.

Not to mention the legal world, but also the mass media and public opinion had mostly projected a judgment for a retrial being opened once again, but it was unbelievably reversed.

Even though it is obvious that the judgment of being guilty was handed down based on fabricated evidence, the judge did not allow an opening of a retrial with a reason like a trick meant to deceive a child. Who is this judge? Would he be a public prosecutor wearing the robe of a judge? Is a bulwark of human rights just an illusion? National anger against the judgement of the High Court filled the newspapers the next morning.

Naturally, his defense counsel immediately filed a special appeal to the Supreme Court and the stage has now moved into that Court. “The case of robbery, murder and arson at Kogane Miso” has turned into a blind alley and “the Hakamata Incident” has still not been settled for more than half a century.

Mr. Iwao Hakamata is the victim of a wrongful conviction who is still being stigmatized as a death row inmate. He was arrested at the age of 30 and had been forced to spend nearly half a century in prison and is now 83 years old. The pleading of his innocence not being accepted, being tormented by absolute solitude and the fear of the death sentence have all seriously damaged his mental health. In spite of this, he has continued to fight against the devil.

With Mr. Hakamata, we, the sovereign people of Japan, must stop the runaway power of the State and we must vindicate his honor, in order to come to the conclusion of settling “The Hakamata Incident” with justice!