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Prosecutors demand jurors pull the trigger in shooting trial


Feb 21, 2011

The master demonstrates how to properly fire an airsoft gun at a 'gun bar' in Roppongi, Tokyo. Most Japanese rarely come in contact with firearms, much less get the opportunity to shoot one. (Photo by Sarah Noorbakhsh)

Monday saw the opening of a trial against ex-yakuza boss, Takashi Kajiwara, who was accused of attempted murder in the March 2009 shooting of an acquaintance. The defence asserted during the hearing that Kajiwara had lay a finger on the trigger and simply squeezed the grip, accidentally causing the gun to fire.

Prosecutors retaliated, saying that it would take a single finger 4-10 kilograms of pressure to pull the trigger on that specific model of gun, and that it couldn’t have been an accident. The prosecutors then presented two weapons of the same type used in the crime, and in an unprecedented move said they would like the jury to try pulling the trigger themselves to decide. The defence has objected, telling the Asahi Shinbun that each gun is different, and the two presented in court may require more force than the one used in the crime. The judge will determine whether or not to grant to the prosecution’s request and let jurors give the guns a squeeze.

Ex-Yamaguchi-gumi member Takashi Kajiwara, 47, is accused of shooting a man in the head on the street in Osaka’s Nishi Yodogawa-ku on the evening of March 25, 2009. The man sustained serious injuries, as did another Yamaguchi-gumi member when he tried to stop Kajiwara from firing but was beaten with the gun. The second member, Hitoshi Tomioka, 45, was brought to the hospital for injuries he sustained during the beating, and was later arrested after a blood test came up positive for stimulants.

In Japan, where firearms are illegal except for use in hunting and sport, and for police officers, most people have never seen a real gun, much less fired one. The lay judge system is relatively new as well–having been implemented in May 2009–and if the judge grants the prosecution’s request it will be an extremely novel, and potentially high-profile, landmark event.

5 thoughts on “Prosecutors demand jurors pull the trigger in shooting trial”
  1. “…another Yamaguchi-gumi member when he tried to stop Kajiwara from firing but was beaten with the gun” – wow, this is astonishingly cynical. He accidentally pulled the trigger, yet he used the gun to beat someone else severly. I know the law’s like that everywhere, but still…

    1. Rosamez-san, very well put. I have a feeling his defense attorney is an ex-prosecutor but I haven’t been able to get the name of his defense lawyer. Yes, an incredibly cynical and sophistic defense.

  2. Unless the gun had a hair trigger, there is no way that it was an accident. Sure, every gun is different, but they all require a lot of effort unless you cock the gun first. It is that way on purpose as a safety measure. My family owns two guns and my father has experience with automatic weapons too working many years as an FBI agent. It was a good move on the prosecutor’s side to have the jury pull the trigger. I’ve taken some bruises on my fingers trying to pull some triggers.

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