Justice for Nobumasa Yokoo
Supporters Group for a Retrial

日本語版へ

Yuji Hosono
Chief Representative

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested Nobumasa Yokoo on February 16, 2012, on the charge of masterminding the financial fraud uncovered at Olympus Corporation in 2011. Yokoo had performed work for Olympus as a marketing manager at Nomura Securities and, later, as the president of an independent consulting company. He would spend 966 days in detention before and during his initial trial.

Yokoo received a guilty verdict from the Tokyo District Court on July 1, 2015. The Tokyo High Court upheld that verdict on September 29, 2016, and the Supreme Court declined on January 22, 2019, to hear his appeal. Yokoo’s punishment comprised a four-year prison sentence, a ¥10 million fine, and his portion of the liability (approximately one-half) for ¥2,209,250,000 in income that he and his then-colleagues Taku Hada and Hiroshi Ono earned from illegal activity. He is presently free on bail while awaiting the summons to report to prison.

I hereby state with absolute confidence that Yokoo is innocent of the charges brought against him by the Japanese prosecutors. His case appears in a book that I published in September 2017 about accounting fraud and accounting standards. I was writing at that time on the basis of limited knowledge of the case. Since then, I have had the opportunity to study the records of the case in detail, and what I have learned has reinforced my confidence in his innocence. I cannot sit by in silence as Yokoo heads to prison as an innocent man.

Yokoo is seeking a retrial to establish his innocence. He faces an obstacle that is common to cases of alleged financial malfeasance: a dearth of physical evidence. Japanese courts have reversed guilty verdicts in only 21 retrials in the postwar era, and all 21 were cases of violence, theft, and other basic crimes where physical evidence figured decisively in the reversals of the convictions.

Precedent thus weighs heavily against Yokoo in his quest for a retrial, yet human progress is a tale of trailblazing, and every path on earth is the result of someone having passed that way first. One day, a Japanese trailblazer will overcome the resistance to reviewing problematic convictions in cases of alleged financial malfeasance. Yokoo is determined to be that person.

We launched our supporters group for Yokoo and his quest for justice at a gathering on April 25, 2019. I call on everyone who cares about the quality of justice in Japan to join our group. Please note, meanwhile, that undertaking the action plan outlined below will require funding, and please share whatever you can to help defray the cost of this undertaking.

Action Plan for Supporters Group
  1. Support Yokoo in seeking a new trial.
  2. Bring defamation suits against publications and journalists who published false and defamatory reports about Yokoo.
  3. File a petition for human rights relief with the Human Rights Protection Committee of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
  4. File a human rights violation complaint with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
  5. Bring Yokoo’s case to the attention of Amnesty International.
  6. Open an exhibition booth at the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Kyoto in April 2020 to call attention through Yokoo’s case to the issue of hostage justice in Japan.
Supporters Group Assertions
  1. The three former executives of Olympus who were convicted as principal offenders in the accounting scandal all received suspended sentences: former president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, three-year sentence, suspended for five years; former executive vice president Hisashi Mori, three-year sentence, suspended for five years; former statutory auditor Hideo Yamada, two-year-six-month sentence, suspended for four years.
  2. Yokoo and Hada each spent 966 in detention before and during his trial. That is the longest pre-verdict detention ever in Japan for alleged financial malfeasance, and it resulted from . . .
    • A delay in initiating the trial occasioned by revelations of forgeries in the evidence arrayed against Yokoo;
    • Prosecutors’ decision to re-arrest Yokoo on a charge of Violation of the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes and Control of Crime Proceeds (money laundering) and thus extend the trial—a subterfuge to secure time to revise a witness’s deposition after the witness gave testimony that differed from his original deposition
  3. Either of Yokoo’s former colleagues Hada and Ono could have secured immediate release and the assurance of a suspended sentence simply by attributing their alleged wrongdoing to his instructions. Yet both refused throughout their detention before and during their trials—Hada 966 days, Ono 831 days—to sign confessions that would implicate Yokoo.
  4. The financial fraud employed by Olympus relied on a sophisticated understanding of accounting standards. Yokoo, though he was a stellar stockbroker, lacked the accounting expertise of a certified public accountant. Lacking that expertise, he could not have engineered the sort of complex financial skulduggery that unfolded at Olympus.
  5. The financial fraud employed by Olympus relied on a sophisticated understanding of accounting standards. Yokoo, though he was a stellar stockbroker, lacked the accounting expertise of a certified public accountant. Lacking that expertise, he could not have engineered the sort of complex financial skulduggery that unfolded at Olympus.
  6. Proof of the foregoing assertions is readily available in corporate and personal tax filings. For reporters and their publications to have disseminated false information about Yokoo without verifying its accuracy is inexcusable, they are liable, as we will demonstrate, for defamation.
  7. The established chronology of events disproves the prosecutors’ claim that Yokoo introduced Olympus to LGT Bank—an introduction allegedly made to facilitate accounting fraud.
  8. Falsified evidence figured in Yokoo’s conviction.

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Supporters Group Reports

Please find updates about the group’s income and activities in the following PDFs.

Inquiry

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consent to the statement made by the Supporters Group.would like to make a donation.(a bank account shall be notified in reply-mail)would like to know more than about the case with my comments as follows: