Efforts on Behalf of Bochurim in Japan Continue


matzoh-for-boys-in-japanThis year will mark the fourth Pesach that for Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel and Yoel Zev ben Mirel Risa Chava will be spending in Japanese prison. During previous years, matzos were allowed into the prison, and they will be permitted this year as well. An ample amount of matzoh has already been shipped to Japan for the two boys. 

Askonim are working to allow grape juice, special kosher meals, and packages of dry food items such as nuts, chocolate, Pesach cookies and the like into the prison. If these items will not be authorized, the only food other than matzoh that the bochurim will have during Yom Tov will be fruits or vegetables supplied by the prison.

The boys have been sent new clothing for Yom Tov, as well as Haggados, machzorim, and seforim.

Closing arguments in Yoel Zev’s case had originally been scheduled to take place last Tuesday, April 5, but were postponed to May 12.

In an unusual gesture, the presiding judge contacted Mr. Miyake, chief defense lawyer for Yoel Zev, to request the adjournment. Normally, any contact with the lawyers would be made by the court clerk and sometimes by one of the two junior judges on the panel.

The presiding judge, Mr. Hodoku, gave two reasons for the deferment. One was that the prosecution’s documents were not ready to be submitted, and the second, more significant reason was that one of the two junior judges was being replaced. Mr. Hodoku apologized for the inconvenience it would cause to Yoel Zev, actually referring to him by name, an extremely extraordinary detail.

In Japan, judges are often replaced during the months of October and April. Indeed, the presiding judge himself replaced another judge, Mr. Furuta, a hardliner. Judge Furuta’s entire panel of judges was a difficult one. One of the junior judges was also replaced thereafter. Now, the second junior judge is being replaced.

This judge, while not rendering the verdict alone, will be the one in charge of writing the verdict, which would be difficult for him to do given the fact that he will be new to the case and unfamiliar with its details. Thus, the defense team agreed that instead of going ahead with the closing arguments as planned and then waiting a long time for the new judge to learn about the case and for the court to reach a verdict, they would agree for the closing arguments to be rescheduled for May 12 at 10 a.m. local time.

The date of April 5, last Tuesday, was used instead for a meeting at which Yoel Zev himself was present.

The documents of both Professor Gershon Ben-Shachar, expert witness for the defense in Yaakov Yosef’s appeals trial, and Ms. Reiko Suzuki, the woman who administered the polygraph tests to the boys and was witness for the prosecution, were submitted to the court at this time.

The subject of Ms. Suzuki’s dishonesty, discovered shortly before Yaakov Yosef’s closing arguments, was also brought to the attention of the judges.

Ms. Suzuki, who had wanted to put forth the opinion that the polygraph test did not rule out the possession of “vague knowledge” by the person being tested, was hard put to discredit Professor Ben-Shachar’s expert opinion, since he is the foremost expert on the subject worldwide, and his testimony was totally based on science and research.

Thus, during Professor Ben-Shachar’s testimony, the prosecution took to “quizzing” him on the informational charts of (the actually polygraph tests and the) card tests (a test to determine whether a person is fit for testing) done on the three boys, something totally irrelevant to the matter at hand.

During Ms. Suzuki’s testimony at the following hearing, she said that Ben-Shachar had given an incorrect answer to the question of which number was on one of the bochurim‘s card test. Since she had claimed all along that she had kept notes while administering the test, the defense lawyers asked that the prosecution present those notes. They always said that they did not have them. When Ms. Suzuki gave her shocking statement trying to discredit Ben-Shachar, she was asked to show her notes. She then said that she will see if she has them. Previously, she had consistently denied having any notes on the polygraph subject, yet here she suddenly said that she will search for them. When the prosecutor was asked to obtain them, he refused to do so.

Mr. Takano, chief lawyer on Yaakov Yosef’s defense team, requested that the court demand that they procure the notes.

Mr. Takano then saw the “notes” – three small pieces of paper, each with one of the three boys’ names on top and a number underneath, ostensibly the number they chose during their card tests.

Ms. Suzuki then claimed that she did not write the numbers at all, but rather that the boys wrote them themselves.

Upon studying the numbers and comparing them to samples taken from the boys’ papers which were confiscated from them upon their arrest, as well as current samples obtained from them in prison, it was clear that the boys did not write the numbers.

Mr. Takano presented his evidence to the judges behind closed doors before Yaakov Yosef’s closing arguments got underway and also during the meeting on April 5 with Yoel Zev’s judges.

All are asked to continue davening for Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel and Yoel Zev ben Mirel Risa Chava and learning Torah in their zechus.

To assist in paying the staggering legal fees, checks made payable to Orach Chaim Rescue Fund may be mailed to Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, 521 Fifth Street, Lakewood, NJ, 08701. To donate by credit card, call 718.534.0030 or log onto japanpidyon.org.

{Yossi Schneider-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. About two weeks ago, at http://matzav.com/rachmastrivke-rebbe-tsunami-in-japan-result-of-bochurim-in-jail, Matzav reported: (quote) “Rav Dovid Twersky, the Rachmastrivka Rebbe of Eretz Yisroel, says that the recent tsunami in Japan, which has left thousands of people dead, was the result of the arrest of the two yeshiva bochurim, Yaakov Yosef and Yoel Zev, by Japanese authorities and jailed. ‘The Japanese don’t understand why they keep on receiving blow after blow, and it never ends. If they want it to stop, they must release the two boys jailed in their prison immediately, and then experience salvation,’ the Rebbe told chassidim . . . ”

    In the article by Rav Shmuel Brazil, Sh’lita, posted by Matzav at http://matzav.com/the-message-of-the-japan-disaster-and-its-not-sushi, Rav Brazil also mentioned this point: “Hashem’s revenge on the Japanese people, whether because they were allies with the Nazis in WW2 or because they incarcerated and cruelly treated three innocent Yiddishe neshamos whose innocence is clear to all except for their kangaroo court . . . “

  2. Erev Shabbos Kodesh, Parshas Acharei Mos
    Time: 4:00 PM Pacific Standard Time

    (continuation of previous comment)

    B’Ezras HaShem, to try to explain this, L’Aniyus Da’ati, we should first examine some aspects of the larger picture.

    When a person studies the Second World War, one of the many questions that he will have is why was the destruction and punishment that HaShem brought on Japan much worse than the destruction and punishment that He brought on Germany?

    [The fire bombing of Germany was certainly extremely severe. The very height of it was the bombing of Dresden. That assault was in three waves of air attack, which caused a massive fire storm that burned for seven days, killed over 135,000 Germans, Yimach Shemam V’Zichram, and virtually wiped out the large city. In all, the entire air bombardment of Germany killed an estimated 500,000 Germans, YMSH.

    However, when the war on Germany was finishing up, the air assault on Japan was just beginning. By that time, the United States had developed a new warplane for bombing, called the “B-29.” The B-29 was much larger and more advanced than the aircraft that had been used in the European theater. The US had also developed a new fire bomb. It was made of magnesium and gasoline and would produce a huge fire that was nearly impossible to put out.

    So the American military took these new powerful weapons and unleashed them with full force on Japan. They packed the spacious planes with the potent incendiary devices and sent them off. Soon, the sky above Japanese cities were filled with almost endless streams of the big bombers, which poured out unstoppable storms of fire. In a short while, Japan too had 500,000 people burnt to death. The caption on the cover of an edition of “Time Magazine” said it all: ” . . . The B-29’s: Can Japan Take Twice The Bombing Germany Got?”

    Then, of course, on August 6 and August 9, 1945, over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there was unleashed a whole new dimension of warfare, as the people on the ground below underwent the unspeakable infinite torture of a nuclear blast. And the President of the United States sternly warned that unless Japan surrendered immediately, “on OUR terms,” there WOULD be more!

    So again, the question is, why did Japan get so much more?

  3. Erev Shabbos Kodesh, Parshas Acharei Mos
    Time: 7:36 PM Pacific Standard Time
    (This was also the time of the previous comment)

    (continuation of previous comment)

    First of all, of course, we well know that the physical aspect of the world and everything that happens in it, is all only a very tiny part of the picture, for there is an infinitely larger spiritual realm. When a person dies, which is that his Neshama – his spiritual essence is separated from his physical encasement, in this spiritual realm, he is fully judged AND fully punished for all of the wicked deeds he committed. In this punishment that he gets in the spiritual realm, the person undergoes infinitely more severely indescribable painful torture than the pain of any calamity of the physical world.

    So, from immediately upon their deaths all the way up through this present moment, all of the Nazis and their wicked supporters have been fully receiving the most fullest punishment. The horrific horror that countless Germans in Dresden experienced of being sucked up and slammed to the ground by the violently churnning firewinds, IS BARELY A FAINT ECHO of the horrific unspeakable tortures that the Nazis are experiencing right now in the spiritual realm!

    It could further well be that the Japanese, who went through the exceedingly horrific horror of being hit with — a whole differnt dimension of fire — two nuclear strikes, are considered as already having had their “Gehinnom” in the physical world. And so in the spiritual realm, they are being spared from that level of punishment.

  4. (continuation of previous comment #6)

    Furthermore, of course, we also well know that the current existence of this world is only a tiny sliver of existence. For in the future, there are going to be several developments and transformations of Be’eas HaMoshiach, Techiyas HaMeisim, and a new world. In these future developments, in which the world will be brought to its ultimate perfection, there will be a complete eradication of all evil. Then, of course, Germany will receive its full punishment; then, it will be realized that the tortuous bombing raids of World War II were just barely the beginning of that punishment. I can never forget how one year on Purim, the Mashgiach of Beis Medrosh Gevoha of Lakewood, Rav Nosson Meyer Wachtfogel, ZT’L, bluntly told me: (translated into English) “Nothing will remain of Germany!”