Suspect speaks up at trial to correct misquote that made him sound like a jerk while he was taking cabbie’s money.

The Japanese justice system is famous for its high rate of confessions. Accused thieves and conmen regularly reply with “There is no mistake that I did those things” when presented with a list of the charges being levied against them.

But on Tuesday, Suguru Takahashi had to assert that he did not perpetrate one of his alleged offenses. The 22-year-old college student was being accused of robbing a taxi driver in the city of Masuda, Shimane Prefecture, back in October. Prosecutors said that Takahashi, who was in town attending a driver’s license school, robbed the diver of 30,000 yen (US$225) in cash, telling him “Give me 30,000 yen!”

That’s not how things went down, though, Takahashi insisted on the first day of his trial. Sure, he took the taxi driver’s cash, but he wants the world to know that he most definitely did not tell him “Give me the money.” Instead, he claims he said “Can I have you give me money? I’d be OK with 30,000 yen.”

▼ For you linguists, prosecutors quoted Takahashi as saving “dase,” the rough command form of dasu (give), while he says his choice of words was the much more polished and polite “dashite moraemasen ka?”

It’s an odd point to contend. It seems like it could be an attempt on Takahashi’s part to frame the incident as him humbly asking for financial aid that the driver then agreed to provide, instead of him trying to threaten or intimidate the driver. If that really were the case, though, it seems like charges wouldn’t have been pressed. Also, during the trial Takahashi reportedly admitted to “robbing” the driver, further negating the chance of playing the whole thing off as a misunderstanding, so maybe he really is just that particular about good manners or averse to being misquoted.

Prosecutors claim Takahashi used the money for transportation and visiting adult entertainment providers such as hostess bars.

Japanese Twitter commenters have had the following to say:

“So misquoting people is where he draws the line in his personal code of conduct?”
“If you robbed somebody, what you were saying at the time doesn’t really matter.”
“Ditz. What’s the point of splitting hairs like that?”
“He seems hopelessly dumb for a university student.”
“Getting hung up on his exact words like that seems childish.”
“I think he knows that correcting how he’s quoted isn’t going to lighten his sentence any, but I’m also the kind of person who can’t let little stuff like that go, so I can kind of relate.”

So remember, there are some things it’s just always going to be impolite to do, no matter how courteously you speak.

Source: FNN Prime Online via Yahoo! Japan News via Hachima Kiko, Twitter (1, 2)
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!