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Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007
Repeat offender sentenced to 14 years for confining and abusing four females
By JUN HONGO
A 26-year-old man who, as a repeat offender, confined and sexually abused four women between 2003 and 2004 was sentenced to 14 years in prison Friday by the Tokyo District Court.
Yasuyoshi Ishijima, who changed his last name from Kobayashi after his arrest in May 2005, was convicted of holding a 22-year-old woman captive for four months in 2003 at his Tokyo condominium.
The court also held him liable for confining three other females between the ages of 17 and 23, and the posttraumatic stress disorders they suffered as a result.
Presiding Judge Toru Takahashi stated the physical and sexual molestations Ishijima inflicted on the victims revealed a "gravely distorted personality" and that his actions severely damaged the victims' lives.
"The accused bears a grave criminal liability," the judge said.
Ishijima, who appeared in court dressed in a white suit and russet turtleneck, had pleaded not guilty since his trial began in December 2005.
He remained impassive as the judge read out the ruling and ordered him to "atone for the crimes."
According to the court, Ishijima incarcerated a 17-year-old high school girl in a hotel room in Aomori Prefecture for three days in December 2003. He had met her through a dating service Web site.
He threatened to kill the girl's family, demanded she call him her "master" and sexually abused her. The intimidation and assaults caused the girl to suffer PTSD.
Ishijima confined an 18-year-old he met online for three months at his condo in Toshima Ward, Tokyo, starting in February 2004.
From August to December that year, he confined a 22-year-old for four months at the condo while holding another woman, a 23-year-old, for 10 days at a different condo in Setagaya Ward.
All of the females at times were made to wear dog collars to prevent their escape. The 22-year-old was severely wounded after Ishijima ordered her to commit suicide by cutting her wrist, the court said.
Ishijima often took photographs of his victims' bruises and wounds. He also forced his captives to record statements on mini discs suggesting they enjoyed the ill-treatment.
The court also said Ishijima referred to his sexual and physical molestations as "home discipline" and concluded the victims were too intimidated to attempt to escape because of the threats against the lives of family members.
Ishijima maintained his innocence since his trial started in December 2005, when he appeared in court looking inappropriately fashion-conscious with his hair dyed brown.
"It was all part of an S&M act," he told the court, claiming he never hurt the females except when he was begged to do so. He stated that the women voluntarily lived with him and were free to leave any time.
Ishijima's case drew attention when it was revealed after his arrest that he had been handed a suspended three-year prison term by the Sapporo District Court in August 2003 for confining a 20-year-old woman and sexually abusing her.
Ishijima, originally from Aomori, was unemployed at the time of his arrest. He was living off money sent by his father, a prosperous business owner.