Trial for Bochur in Japan Begins


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, got underway today in Chiba, Japan. The prosecution was slated to present a witness – their only witness, a Japanese customs officer – today; the defense is expected to have a witness of theirs take the stand tomorrow.

The trial itself will take place on four days in total: today and tomorrow, and then two days in October. All Japanese courthouses are closed from August 11 to August 31. 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 defense is expected to present additional witnesses during the second half of the trial in October.

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

Today’s trial schedule was expected to begin at 10 a.m. Japan time for a duration of just three hours or so. The trial tomorrow will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The defense’s witness tomorrow will be a former head of the US Drug Enforcement Agency at JFK and Miami International Airports.

Present at the trial will be the devoted team of askanim helping the bochurim – Dayan Chaim Dovid Weiss, R’ Aharon Nezri and R’ Meilich Bindiger – as well as Yoel Goldstein’s mother and brother.

Yosef Bando, Yosef ben Itta Rivkah, the youngest of the three bochurim, is now in Eretz Yisroel serving the duration of his 5-year sentence in the Rimonim jail in Beer Sheva, Israel.

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, at Narita International Airport, 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. the mothers in brooklyn are crying for the families of the bochurim. we are praying for a quick release and a full refuah for all of your pain. May Hashem help you quickly and fully

  2. Names are:

    Yosef b. Itta Rivkah

    Ya’akov Yosef b. Reizel

    Yoel Zev b. Mirel Risa Chava

    May they experience a full redeeming


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