A Letter to Judge Hiroshi Ohno, Tokyo High Court, Fourth Criminal Division
For a Fair Trial of the Sayama Case - An appeal for retrial and the examination of all evidence
The third appeal for retrial of the Sayama Case has been filed with the Tokyo High Court, more than
43 years after the case began in 1963. The Sayama Case raises a large number of questions, even
from a layperson’s perspective. There is no conclusive material evidence available, and there
are too many unnatural and implausible points in the defendant’s confession. It is unthinkable
that Ishikawa, who had little training in writing, could have written the ransom note. The process
by which the fountain pen was found is also extremely suspect.
The Sayama Legal Team has already submitted a large amount of new evidence, including handwriting,
footprint, and forensic analyses, that raises reasonable doubt about the decision by which Ishikawa
was found guilty. The third appeal for retrial includes further new evidence such as handwriting
analysis, as well as a demand that the facts of the case be reexamined and that all evidence be
given a comprehensive review. The courts have not reexamined the case since the October 1974
decision, over 30 years, ago. The fact that so much time has been allowed to pass without a
reexamination of the case or disclosure of evidence by the prosecution makes it impossible to
call this a “just and fair trial,” as granted by the Constitution.
Based on the principle within the retrial system of “aid to the innocent” and the criminal courts’
cardinal rule of “benefit of doubt,” we petition the Tokyo High Court to re-try the Sayama case
and conduct a new factual investigation thereof, including the questioning of witnesses and
inspection of the crime scene.
Akagawa Jirou (writer), Ishikawa Bunyou (news cameraman), Ishizaka (cartoonist), Irikawa Yasunori (actor), Irokawa Daikichi (historian), Ei Rokusuke (radio personality), Emori Youkou (journalist), Oda Makoto (writer), Kamata Satoshi (reporter), Kawasaki Hideaki (professor, Kansei Gakuin University), Saitou Takao (journalist), Saotome Katsumoto (author), Sakata Akira (musician), Saki Ryuuzou (writer), Sataka Makoto (commentator), Satou Kei (performer), Satou Tadao (film critic), Sano You (writer), Sawachi Hisae (writer), Shindou Kaneto (film director), Tsukasa Osamu (painter), Tujii Takashi (writer), Tsurumi Shunsuke (philosopher), Torigoe Shuntarou (“newsperson”), Nakayama Chinatsu (writer), Niwayama Hideo (lawyer, former professor at Senshu University), Noda Masaaki (professor, Kansei Gakuin University), Haitani Kenjirou (writer), Haryuu Ichirou (commentator), Hidaka Rokurou (commentator), Honda Katsuichi (journalist), Maeda Kenji (film director), Maeda Tetsuo (journalist), Masuda Reiko (journalist), Mushakoji Kinhide (chair, Asian International Studies Research Center, Osaka University of Economics and Law), Yakumitsuru (cartoonist)