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Man stabbed during Japanese police academy training unhappy assailant not arrested

The man stabbed during police academy training shows the scar left from where the survival knife entered his body, in Okayama Prefecture on July 23, 2019. (Mainichi/Ryohei Masukawa)

OKAYAMA -- A man who was stabbed in the chest by a police inspector while training at the Okayama Prefectural Police academy expressed resentment over the incident in a recent interview with the Mainichi Shimbun, asking why the inspector has not been arrested.

The 19-year-old man, who was training at the academy as a police officer, has filed a lawsuit against the prefectural government demanding 5.5 million yen in compensation over the attack by the inspector in December last year.

"I was stabbed without any warning. Ordinary people would be arrested, so why wasn't he arrested?" the former officer asked.

The former officer recalls the training in which he was stabbed, in Okayama Prefecture on July 23, 2019. (Mainichi/Ryohei Masukawa)

The first arguments in the man's lawsuit are due to be heard at the Okayama District Court on July 26.

The man entered the police academy in April last year after graduating from high school. Looking at the riot squad members who helped people after western Japan was struck by torrential rain in July last year, he held a dream of joining the mobile police investigation unit, hoping that he could help people using his past judo experience.

The man says the training session in which he was stabbed was held on Dec. 10 last year. The aim was to persuade a person acting as a criminal into dropping a replica knife. The police inspector, who was playing the criminal, dropped the knife, but then he pulled out a real survival knife he was carrying, charged toward the officer and stabbed him in the chest twice.

The officer was taken to hospital without realizing what had happened. One of the stab wounds reached his lungs, but he was released from hospital three days later. When he returned to the police academy the next day, the inspector was there as usual.

The young officer became distrustful and suffered depression after the incident. In January this year he left the force, and filed a criminal complaint with prefectural police.

According to prefectural police, the inspector explained that he used the real knife to "bring a sense of tension" to the exercise. But it was not until after the victim left the police force that he heard this explanation. He was later diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder, and plans to move out of the prefecture due to anxiety that he could be harassed in connection with the case.

The police inspector was slapped with a summary indictment on charges of professional negligence causing injury in March this year and was fined 500,000 yen under a summary order the following month. He was also admonished in February, but prefectural police did not publicize the incident until being interviewed by the media in July.

(Japanese original by Ryohei Masukawa, Okayama Bureau)

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