Youngest of Three Japan Bochurim Returns Home for First Time Since Smuggling Fiasco


japan-bochur-yosef-bandaYosef Bando, Yosef ben Itta Rivkah, one of the three bochurim at the center of the Japan smuggling saga, has been allowed to return home for the first time since the entire ordeal began last year after he and his two friends were duped into carrying contraband into Japan.

Yosef is the youngest of the three bochurim arrested in Japan. He is now in Eretz Yisroel serving the duration of his sentence in an Israeli jail and has been allowed to return home for a period of 48 hours. He had been initially scheduled to return home for a leave from prison for Shavuos, but that plan was scrapped out of fear that it might negatively affect future extradition efforts for the other two boys, who are still incarcerated in Japan. It was thus decided for Yosef’s period of reprieve to be postponed until after the chag.

The break was first set at 24 hours and then lengthened to 48 hours. Yesterday afternoon, Yosef arrived at his home, located at Rechov Ravina 3, and was greeted by his family.

The break is the first of three reprieves that, as a prisoner, he is entitled to as he serves out his sentence. The remaining breaks that he will receive in the future will be three days each. He is also slated to return home at some point for Shabbosos and chagim, all in accordance with standard prison accommodations.

Tomorrow, Yosef will return to prison where he will continue serving what is remaining of his four-year sentence handed down by the court in Japan.

As has been reported extensively here on, the smuggling story began in April 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 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 not antiques, but $3.6 million worth of Ecstasy pills.

{Yair Israel}


  1. Since this unfortunate saga began, there has been mention of this “friend” that asked them for a favor. Has the “friend” been identified? What is being done to confront this “friend”?

  2. Thank Gd that the State of Israel was able to arrange this situation for him.. Please alert and educate the Yosef about the evils of the world & not to trust others just because they speak the right language and wear the proper levush.

    Btw why isn’t anyone talking about the piece of scum who got them into this mess in the first place ?!?!?!

  4. To “Emusing”
    Yes his friend has been found. Apparently the Israeli shin bet had been following him for a while and traced him down to a notorious israeli crime family. He was employed to work for this family, so he served a semi-double life. The link between him and the crime family was made shortly after the boys were caught with the drugs.
    Currently both the friend and members of the crime family are sitting behind bars.

  5. Please daven for the other 2 boys, one of them is really not doing well and the other is bH staying strong. We need lots of Tefilos please have them in mind!