Sentencing left many feeling justice wasn’t served.

Earlier this year the public was appalled at the behavior of a customer at a Kurazushi revolving sushi restaurant in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture. The offender was recorded drinking straight from the shared soy sauce bottle and stealing sushi from plates as they passed by, and as a result became the first person arrested for it.

This shouldn’t be confused with the customer of a Sushiro revolving sushi restaurant, whose soy sauce and cup-licking video went viral only days earlier. The back-to-back incidents sent shock waves as a nation cried out “What the hell is wrong with people?” at once and sushi conveyor belts came to a grinding halt.

On 13 October, the Kurazushi perpetrator of what was dubbed “sushi terrorism” by the media was found guilty by Nagoya District Court Judge Yoichi Omura. It was a pretty open-and-shut case since everything was on video and uploaded to social media, and the man in the video, 21-year-old Ryuga Yoshino, was handed down a five-year suspended sentence on a three-year prison sentence.

Yoshino will not appeal and spoke to the media after the verdict. He appeared remorseful, telling reporters: “I am truly sorry. The first thing I will do is reflect and make up for what I did. I think it’s more important to want to make amends — even if just a little — with the people whom I caused trouble than it is to worry about myself.”

▼ News report recapping Yoshino’s sushi offences, sentencing, and public apology

He also urged others considering the same thing to think twice about their actions and consider what happens afterward before making the same mistake he did.

Before anyone might begin to feel sorry for Yoshino, it should be noted that at the same trial he was also found guilty of pimping out his then-15-year-old girlfriend from December to March of this year, which Omura pointed out was a far more despicable crime, though it was not the subject of the case he was currently presiding over. In regards to the “sushi terrorism” incident, Omura  felt there was enough of a foundation for rehabilitation in place that a suspended sentence would suffice.

Readers of the news, however, disagreed, appearing unmoved by Yoshino’s repentance and feeling his punishment was too light.

“We need a sentence that will send a message to copycats.”
“That’s too light!”
“The judge should have been harder on him.”
“That’s it?”
“This will do nothing to stop other sushi terrorists.”
“Does anyone believe he really regrets what he did?”
“He’s going to be a hero to morons now.”
“I want him punished enough that he loses his youth.”

There is still the matter of financial restitution in this case. Unlike the similar Sushiro incident which is resulted in a lawsuit for considerable sums of money, there’s been no word of such a suit against Yoshino. However, his statements that made frequent references to restitution might mean he has or is in the process of settling with Kurazushi out of court. If these negotiations don’t work out, his conviction would go a long way in supporting potential lawsuits in the future from the restaurant chain.

So, his sentencing might not turn out to be such a slap in the wrist after all and only time will tell if he can truly reform his ways.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun, NHK News Web,
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