Opening Session of Trial for Third Bochur in Japan


japan-bochurim1The trial of Yoel Goldstein, Yoel Zev ben Mirel Risa Chava, the third of the three bochurim at the center of the Japan smuggling saga, began today. Following the final pre-trial hearing on Erev Shabbos, the opening session of the trial got underway today in Japan. At the hearing, the defense and prosecution discussed possible court dates to ensure that witnesses would be available at those times.

The trial itself will take place during four days in July and then October. All Japanese courthouses are closed from August 11 to August 31, complicating matters a bit. The set dates for the trial are July 27, July 28, October 18 and October 19. October 20 has been added as an extra day in case it is needed.

The presiding judge has stated that cancellations in his court schedule may allow the trial dates to be moved up.

Yosef Bando, Yosef ben Itta Rivkah, the youngest of the three bochurim, is now in Eretz Yisroel serving the duration of his sentence in an Israeli jail.

The second of the bochurim, Yaakov Yosef Greenwald, was sentenced to six years in prison. It is hoped that following Yoel Goldstein’s trial, Yaakov Yosef will be extradited and be able to serve a reduced sentence in an Israeli jail. Counting the two years he has already spent in jail, as well as a reduction for good behavior, Yaakov Yosef could spend anywhere from 36-48 months in jail.

As has been reported extensively here on, the smuggling story began on April 3, 2008, when the three bochurim from Yerushalayim and Bnei Brak – two under age 20 and one under age 18 at the time – were asked to transport some antiques from Holland to Japan. The ‘friend’ who asked them for the favor assured them that everything was legal.

Once in Amsterdam, they were given the “antiques” – concealed inside false-bottomed suitcases.¬†Told that this was a precaution against theft, they once again suspected nothing, and flew on to Tokyo. In Japan, the false bottoms were quickly detected and broken into by customs officials – who found not antiques, but $3.6 million worth of Ecstasy pills.

{Dovid Israel}


  1. Everyone should please daven very hard Askanim are very worried about this court case because the judge in charge of this case is known to be very harsh. being that there is no jury system it’s all in the judge’s hands. (or OUR hands – depends on our teffilos)

  2. What about the “friend”?
    If he would be prosecuted aggressively in Israel, that may signal to the Japanese that it was truly a setup and be in favor of the boys.