Trial of Third Bochur in Japan to Get Underway Next Week


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, is slated to get underway this coming week. A pre-trial hearing was held on an Erev Shabbos last month in Japan. and the defense and prosecution discussed possible court dates to ensure that witnesses would be available at those times.

The trial itself will take place on four days in total, two days next week – Tuesday and Wednesday, July 27-28 – and then two days in October. All Japanese courthouses are closed from August 11 to August 31, complicating matters a bit. The set dates for the trial in October are the 18th and 19th of the month. October 20 was 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. #2, you are wrong. Proof is,(net that proof of a public fact is needed) they let Banda return to Israel #3, if you are right, that is a shameful act. You keep a boy in solitary in Japan, because you think there is a slight possibility his testimony can help. What right do they have to harm him that way??? And if it does, what make you think the Israelis wont let him return for the trial??

    Furthermore, in the trial of Grunwald, the others where not called to testify by these askonim. Why is this different???

    Lets see if they let out Gruwald after Goldstien’s trial, or if they wait to bring him back together with Goldstien!!