One of the accused was a government-paid politician’s secretary at the time.

When people say that crime doesn’t pay, they’re talking in the long-term sense, on the supposition that eventually the police will catch up to you and/or you’ll lose your fundamental humanity from a life on the wrong side of the law. In the short term, though, sad as it may be for us law-abiding citizens, crime can be extremely lucrative.

For example, way back on the afternoon of September 29, 2010, a man and a woman walked up to the front door of a home in Kyoto’s Sakyo Ward. Dressed in the garb of delivery people and carrying a cardboard box, they rang the doorbell, but when the lady of the house, a then-52-year-old woman, came to the door, they revealed his true colors, threatening her with a knife and tying her hands together after they gained entry to her home.

The woman’s husband was the president of a real estate agency, and the robbers demanded she give them the key to the home’s safe, which they emptied of its roughly 100 million yen (US$885,000) in cash before making their escape, leaving the victim with minor injuries to her neck, back, and wrists.

▼ Security footage of the male robber

Now, eight years later, the police feel they’ve finally caught the criminals, although actually they’d already caught one of them. The Kyoto Prefectural Police are charging 44-year-old Takayuki Kamikura and 59-year-old Mayumi Nishitani with the crime, but they already had Kamikura in custody, as he’s currently serving a prison sentence for a 2016 home invasion robbery committed in Shimane Prefecture’s Izumo, where he once again disguised himself as a deliveryman to get through the door of the house he was targeting. Police say a recent reexamination of video recorded by the home’s security cameras led them to formally arrest the pair for the 2010 crime on November 8.

At one point, Kamikura could have been on the path to a bright, or at least respectable, future. In 2004, he began working part-time in the campaign office of politician Satoshi Ninoyu, who that year was elected to Japan’s House of Councillors national assembly. Kamikura continued working for Nonoyu as a secretary/political aide, and was still a state employee at the time of the 2010 robbery. Through the course of his work, Kamikura became acquainted with Nishitani, who herself was an acquaintance of the real estate company president who was robbed and allegedly told Nishitani about the ample amount of cash kept in his home.

In speaking to reporters, Ninoyu, who still serves in the House of Councilors as a Kyoto representative, says he hired Kamikura after being asked by a senior politician to make him part of his staff. “For the first three years, he worked diligently,” the Liberal Democratic Party member recalls, “but then his personal life started to become an issue. There were rumors that he was going out all the time in Kyoto’s bar and club district, but there’s no way you can do that on a secretary’s salary. People said he was handsome, and it started to go to his head, but I told him ‘People have to be good on the inside.’”

“He didn’t really listen to me, though,” lamented Ninoyu, “and we had to have him leave,” as Kamikura’s position on Ninoyu’s staff came to an end in 2011. Despite Ninoyu’s professed misgivings about Kamikura’s character, though, he never suspected his secretary would stoop to home invasion. “I had no idea he was involved in anything like that,” Ninoyu said, “but as an elected official, I deeply regret what happened, and I apologize.”

Sources: NHK News Web, Chunichi Shimbun via Hachima Kiko, The Mainichi
Top image: Pakutaso