Japan Update: Final Appeals Hearing this Monday for Yaakov Yosef

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japan-jailThe final hearing in the appeals case for Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel will take place on the coming Monday, February the 28th at the Tokyo High Court, at which the prosecution will attempt to challenge the expert testimony given by Professor Gershon Ben-Shachar on Wednesday, January the 26th.  Professor Ben-Shachar, the world’s foremost expert on polygraph testing, had flown to Japan to testify on behalf of the defense team against the claim of Ms. Reiko Suzuki, who had administered the polygraph test to the three boys arrested in Japan, that whilst the boys passed the test that showed that they had no knowledge of the contents of their suitcases, the examination however did not rule out the presence of “vague knowledge” in the subject being tested.  The Professor provided the court with strong scientific evidence that in CIT (Concealed Information Test) testing, vague knowledge equals knowledge and that a definite differential response would have been achieved.

Now Ms. Suzuki is to have her day in court.  Proceedings are scheduled to begin at 1:30 PM local time with a 60 – 90 minute session during which the prosecutor will question Ms. Suzuki.  A short break of 15 to 20 minutes will follow, after which Mr. Takashi Takano, chief lawyer for the defense, will be given 90 minutes to cross examine the witness.  The hearing will conclude at around 4:30 – 5:00 PM after the judges have had their turn to question Ms. Suzuki and to finalize any points they may want clarification on.

Although Professor Ben-Shachar was  not originally scheduled to attend the upcoming hearing, the defense team felt that it would be extremely beneficial to the case were he to be present, and he agreed to make the long trip from Tel Aviv to Tokyo despite his advanced age.  Unlike the previous hearing, which was much lengthened by the need for interpreters to translate the proceedings from Japanese to English and vice versa, Monday’s hearing will be conducted exclusively in Japanese.  As such, the askonim have arranged, after much effort, to have a translator present who is fluent in both languages who will type what is being said into her laptop in English.  Her laptop will be linked to Professor Ben-Shachar’s laptop and he will thus be able to follow events as they occur.  This will give him the distinct advantage of being able to link facial expression and body language to what is being said so that he can determine the prosecution’s weak or vulnerable points.  Then, during the break before Mr. Takano’s cross-examination, he can best guide the team in their efforts according to his observations.  In addition, Ms. Suzuki will definitely want to exercise constrain in the Professor’s presence, as she will not wish to discredit herself in his eyes.

It should be realized that without this interpreter present, Professor Ben-Shachar, along with the askonim and anyone else not knowledgeable in the Japanese language, would need to wait between 7 and 10 days for the court records to be released, after which they would need to be translated and reviewed by counsel.  Now, the defense team will be able to sit down with Ben-Shachar the same evening to discuss how best to proceed.

As for Yaakov Yosef himself, the lawyers have visited him in the detention center and he knows what the procedure will be.  There will also be an interpreter present at the hearing who will give him a general idea of what is going on.

Professor Ben-Shachar will have until March 14th to submit his written rebuttal of Ms. Suzuki’s testimony, after which the closing arguments will be heard on March 28th.

Yaakov Yosef and Yoel Zev, incarcerated for almost three years, display tremendous emunah and bitachon, davening and learning as they await their salvation.  Indeed, all who are privileged to visit with them come away awed and inspired by their strong spirit.

The askonim, Dayan Weis, Rabbi Nezri, and Rabbi Bindinger are doing all they can, working around the clock, foregoing sleep and normal daily living to help these boys.  We can and must do our part.  Approximately $356,000 are still needed to cover defense costs.

Click here to earn the tremendous mitzvah of pidyon shvuyim.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. To #5, I think that #4 is reading between the lines – as a Bubby would do, and what you may have written she is suggesting that you write properly before you tell her to use common sense, I guess it doesnt pay to mess with Bubby.


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