Trial for Two Bochurim in Japan to Begin This Sunday


japan-bochurim1The trial of two of the yeshiva bochurim arrested for drug trafficking in Japan will begin this Sunday, has learned. The third bochur was sentenced back on April 30, as first reported here.

The two bochurim, Yoel Goldstein and Yosef Greenwald, have been waiting for months for a trial date. The Japanese legal system is difficult to navigate and it remained unknown for an extended period of time when the trial would commence. has now learned that the court in Japan announced that the joint trial of the two bochurim will open Sunday. The message was relayed to the families of the boys by the lawyers handling the case. The short notice has made things difficult for the bochurim’s families, who are considering whether to publish papers ads in chareidi newspapers on Friday calling for the public to daven for hatzlacha.

The legal situation regarding the two bochurim is of great concern to the families. As mentioned, the youngest of the three, Yosef Bando (Yosef ben Ita Rivka), was sentenced back in April to eight years in jail. (It was reduced after taking into consideration time already spent behind bars awaiting trial. The Japanese judge ruled that Yosef would have to spend 5 years in jail and pay a $40,000 fine. The lawyers are working feverishly to have Yosef extradited to Eretz Yisroel to serve the duration of his sentence in an Israeli prison, but it is not yet clear if that can be achieved.) 

There is much anxiety among the families of the two other bochurim – who are adults – because the courts in Japan tend to be lenient with minors and yet the youngest of the three, a minor, received what some consider a harsh penalty. For this reason, the families will be calling out to all of Klal Yisroel to daven to the Ribono Shel Olam and to storm the gates of Heaven for rachamim.

All are asked to say Tehillim for Yoel Zev ben Mirel Risa Chava and Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel.

The four-man global team of Dayan Chaim Yosef Dovid Weiss, Rav Yaakov Bleich, Reb Meilich Bindiger and Reb Aron Nezri – the devoted askanim who have taken on the case of the three boys – continue to work around the clock with the boys’ attorneys to ensure that the maximum hishtadlus is being done. They have gone through thousands upon thousands of papers, documents and files, and have conducted hundreds of hours of investigative work in preparation for the trial. They have left no stone unturned in their quest to prove the boys’ innocence, though the Japanese justice system is a difficult one to maneuver in.

As has reported, the story began last April 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 offered them $1,000 each and 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 there not antiques, but $3.6 million worth of Ecstasy pills.

May we only hear besuros tovos.

 {Dovid Newscenter/Yair Israel}


  1. I have written this before a number of times here and in “Letters to the Editor” at the Yated, and I will say it again now.

    What action has been taken against the wicked fiend and his underworld cronies who tricked the three bachurim into this terrible scam?????

  2. Even if it were some antiques they were carrying with them from The Netherlands, they should have known this could be illegal. Antiques trafficking is illegal so, having false bottoms in your suitcase is another thought. Did they not or did they do know it? People of all sorts age and religion are trafficking drugs, even rabbaniem are caught with the stuff so, why not 3 bachurim! Sorry folks but this is what I think about it. My sympathies are with the families. May HKB’H protect all of them

  3. to #6 Ok. so they were stupid. but what’s the point of bringing that up? i’m sure they learnt there lessons – right now they need our prayers.