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On September 9, Hozumi Hasegawa, a second-division professional boxer competing successfully at a world level, made a very angry post to his blog condemning the nation’s laws for preventing him from raising his hand against anyone outside of work, regardless of the circumstances.

We’ve probably all heard the story in unspecific terms: rumor states that a trained fighter must register his own fists as lethal weapons. It would then stand to reason that any scuffle involving that person would put him on the receiving end of severe charges for battery and assault with a dangerous weapon. Could it be that all the hearsay is actually true?!

Hasegawa opened his recent blog post with the admission that he “was writing out of irrational anger.” According to his personal understanding of the subject, the law states that because he is a pro boxer, his own body is classified as a dangerous weapon and thus he cannot exchange blows with anyone on the streets, even if the circumstances would normally classify fighting as a justifiable response. Hasegawa gives two examples in his angry rant. “Even if a large number of young punks were to come and pick a fight with me, because I’m a pro, I’d have to endure their beating without fighting back. […] So, even if I’m squarely and purposefully hit, I cannot retaliate simply because I’m a pro?”

Hasegawa goes on to question all of the inconsistencies that this rule creates. “Would it be better for a pro martial artist?” he writes. “Is it because I’m a pro boxer? Would it still be forbidden if it was me against ten armed assailants? Or, what if two pro boxers have a fight in the streets? This law is strange!” he laments.

Of course, Hasegawa’s outcry is not for his inability to start a rumble in the streets, the professional fighter assures his readers. What he wants is to retain the right to protect himself, his friends, and those important to him as an act of legitimate self-defense. “There’s a difference between hitting someone out of frustration and hitting them to protect yourself. I don’t understand this law that says I can’t hit anyone just because I’m a pro.”

Now, I’m no lawyer, but I worked a little Google-fu to see what I could dig up about this peculiar law. While I wasn’t able to find anything specifically targeting boxers, I did come across an interesting fact on 3Yen, a legal FAQ for Japan. According to this site, residents of Japan do not have a right to self-defense! It is only a mitigating option. What this means is that any attempt to use violence as a form of defense leaves one liable to battery charges which will only be dropped if a number of mitigating circumstances can be proved.

In other countries, such as America and Australia, fighting back in the face of an assault is legally permissible within “necessary measure,” even for a trained fighter. This usually matters most in the courtroom, long after a fight, as the victim of the initial assault must be able to prove that the amount of force that they used in their retaliation was necessary given the circumstances. In such cases, a trained fighter acting instinctively upon a perceived threat can be at a disadvantage when placed before a jury. If the fighting specialist suffers no injuries, while their assailant suffers many it can be hard to prove that the measures taken were not excessive, but in fact necessary.

So, I want to believe that Hasegawa’s legal advisory to refrain from all fighting on the streets was more to avoid the high likelihood of battery claims against him in the event of injury to his assailant, rather than the existence of a law specifically targeting professional boxers. After all, it would be difficult to defend the mitigating circumstances when the assailant is the one suffering a broken jaw. But, like I said, I’m no lawyer!

As an extra little follow-up to Hasegawa’s angry blog rant, earlier this morning the pro boxer posted a written apology for his outburst over the unfair law. After discussing the issue with his boss and his trainer, he has calmed down considerably and regrets specifically that he showed any willingness whatsoever to strike a person. He is rethinking the matter very deeply and apologizes sincerely for lashing out in a public forum.

Source: Oricon Style (Japanese)
Top image: Hozumi Hasegawa on Ameblo