JAPAN SAGA CLOSED: Yaakov Yosef Released After 1,734 Days in Prison



The sad saga of three yeshiva bochurim jailed in Japan finally came to an end today with Yaakov Yosef’s homecoming.

After a painfully long four and a half years, the last of the three bochurim, Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel, who was recently transferred to Eretz Yisroel, was finally released from custody today, after serving 1,734 days, most of which were spent in isolation in Chiba, Japan.

Last month, Yaakov Yosef was brought before a parole board, and, bechasdei Hashem, he was granted a full and final release today. He was allowed a taste of freedom on the first day of Chanukah when he was able to spend 12 hours with his family and friends.

Shortly after noon, earlier today, Yaakov Yosef was met by his family at the Nitzan Prison, from where he was taken home with his few belongings.

During the short time that Yaakov Yosef spent at the Nitzan Prison, fellow prisoners who got to know him were overwhelmed by his pristine conduct and said that they would greatly miss him.

Yaakov Yosef arranged a minyan twice daily at the prison and delivered a shiur to the prisoners every evening after Maariv. The prison shul hadn’t functioned for over three years, with the exception of tefillos on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. However, after Yaakov Yosef’s arrival to the facility, Yiddishkeit behind bars was revived. Many prisoners were inspired by Yaakov Yosef, who, during the short time spent there, managed to change the atmosphere in the jail.

Yaakov Yosef’s grandfather will be making a seudas hodaah for the entire family and close friends.

“At this junction, we thank Haashem for the great chassodim that He has done during these difficult years,” R’ Aron Nezri and R’ Meilich Bindinger, the two leading askonim in the case, told Matzav.com. “Yaakov Yosef has, boruch Hashem, managed to sustain all the way through this difficult period. He managed to complete several masechtos of Gemara and various sidrei halacha with many meforshim in addition to being mechazek his and our emunah and bitachon.

“Yaakov Yosef always managed to look at the bright side,” they continued. “When a threat of a sentence in excess of 20 years was looming, he rejoiced that the prosecution ultimately requested 13 years. And when the judges handed him a verdict of six years, he rejoiced that it wasn’t less, so that the prosecution shouldn’t appeal.

“We wish Yaakov Yosef that from now on, he and his dear family should see Hashem’s kindness in an obvious manner, and may he be zocheh to bring nachas to his parents and Klal Yisroel who davened and toiled on his behalf,” they concluded.

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Boruch Hashem!!!!!!!!!!! Yaakov Yosef, may you merit a long life enjoying freedom from people and servitude to Hashem Yisboruch. May you merit to have a beautiful marriage and nachas from children. May your life be filled with simcha and joy and Kol Tov!!

    Mazel Tov!!

  2. Baruch Mattir Asurim!

    It’s wonderful to be able to cross his name off my list. May the day come soon when I can cross off Shalom Rubashkin, Jonathan Pollard and Yanky Ostreicher as well, Kain YH”R.

  3. We must not forget to have tremendous hakaras hatov to all the askonim who were involved in this whole saga. This took extraordinary effort on international political levels and we cant forget the hard work that these people put in. B’ezras Hashem this had finally concluded with everyone finally free.

  4. Mazel tov to Habocher Ha’chosov Yakov Yosef!From now and forward, may your parents and your entire family see only Yiddish Nachas from you. Many tefillos from Klal Yisroel reached the Kiseh Hakovod, on High UP! May Hashem take the Z’chusim from all Yidden, who were concerned for you, and bring forth the Geula Shlaima Bim’heira Be’Yameinu!

  5. Baruch Matir Asurim. May he and his family only have happiness and joy forever. May this good news be a catalyst to hear other good news

  6. To #’s 3&4: The one who caused the whole fiasco, was supposed to be in jail for about 3 yrs. However, he was unfortunately let out much too early for good behavior.

    I’m really happy for Yaakov Yosef & for his family that he was finally let out from jail. May he have much, much hatzlacha in all his future endeavors!! May he be a true source of Nachas to his entire family!!

  7. Boruch Mattir Asurim!
    May Yaakov Yosef continue to give nachas to the Eibishter and to his family, and may the horrible experience he endured only make him a stronger person. Mazel Tov!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Baruch Hashem.
    May everyone continue to daven for Warren Weinstein who’s in captivity in Pakistan as well as for those who are listed in other comments.

  9. I have had Yaakov Yosef in mind three times a day in my shemone esreh. I am glad was part of the tzibur to pray form. boruch matir asurim. may hashem give you a sweet and successful life

    Motti Thaler
    Denver Colorado