An Osaka man convicted of rape three and a half years ago and sentenced to a 12-year prison sentence has been released after new evidence revealed the man’s accuser had provided false testimony.

The man – whom Japanese news outlets are not naming – was accused of raping the same woman in both 2004 and 2008, and sexually assaulting her once again later in 2008. The guilty verdict was apparently based largely on the woman’s testimony and that of at least one eyewitness, but the trial seems to have lacked any physical evidence provided by prosecutors.

News reports state the man vehemently denied the woman’s claims and finally managed to get a request for a re-examination of the case via his lawyer this year, but not before serving out over three years of his 12-year prison term.


The District Public Prosecutor apparently found the imprisoned man’s argument compelling enough to personally suggest to the court the case be re-opened; an unprecedented move in Japan, where conviction rates are astronomically high and convictions rarely overturned.

Upon re-investigating the case, the prosecutor found unspecified objective evidence refuting the claims of both the alleged victim and the eyewitness, and the man was finally released by a judge after serving over three years of his prison term.

According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, this is the second time a conviction has been overturned since 2009.

Source: Nikkei West
Photo of Osaka Prison: Wikimedia Commons