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Ex-city worker who threatened to 'annihilate' Korean residents in Japan gets 1-yr sentence

Choi Kang-ija, left, a third-generation Korean resident in Japan, and Yoshiharu Yamaguchi, the chairman of the neighborhood association of the Sakuramoto 1-chome district, where the Fureai-kan community center is located, are seen holding a news conference at Kawasaki City Hall after the ruling was handed down, on Dec. 3, 2020. (Mainichi/Yoshiya Goto)

YOKOHAMA -- A former Kawasaki Municipal Government employee was sentenced to one year in prison by a Japanese court on Dec. 3 for sending postcards threatening to "annihilate" Korean residents in Japan, among other offenses.

    Seiichi Ogiwara, 70, a resident of the city of Kawasaki near Tokyo, was accused of forcible obstruction of business for sending cards with threatening messages and bomb threats to the Kawasaki municipal Fureai-kan multicultural community center and to local elementary and junior high schools. Prosecutors had requested the Yokohama District Court's Kawasaki branch hand him two years in prison.

    Ogiwara used the name of a former colleague, whom he said he held a grudge against when they worked together, as the cards' addresser. When handing down the ruling, Presiding Judge Kenichi Emi said that Ogiwara was so caught up in destroying his former colleague's reputation that he disregarded the impact his actions would have on the facilities and their users. He added, "(His) attitude that is inconsiderate of others' interests cannot be overlooked," and concluded that it was fair to give him a prison term without a suspended sentence.

    According to the ruling, between November 2019 and February 2020 Ogiwara sent the community center a postcard reading, "I will blow up Fureai-kan and annihilate Korean residents from this world," among other threatening messages, and also sent bomb threats and other threatening notes to nine schools in Kanagawa Prefecture and Tokyo.

    (Japanese original by Nao Ikeda, Yokohama Bureau)

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