FORWARDED APPEAL (Japan): On-line petition to seek justice for a man charged with alleged false murder case due to class discrimination 

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding to you an on-line petition initiated by the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) in Tokyo, Japan, which is seeking justice for the case of false charges against Mr. Kazuo Ishikawa, who is a member of the Buraku, a caste-similar minority in Japan. He was once sentenced to death with a charge of murder of a girl in 1963, and later was released on probation. His appeal case is currently pending before the Tokyo High Court. Based on his conviction that he did not commit the murder, Mr. Ishikawa has complained his innocence three times and his complain was rejected two times. Mr. Ishikawa and his supporters insists that he was charged due to discrimination against his birth as “Buraku-min” that continues in Japan.

The AHRC has reproduced the full text of the petition letter prepared by IMADR for the on-line petition campaign called Sayama International Solidarity Campaign below. To help your understanding about the case, please visit the website:

We request you to sign in this petition to support Mr. Ishikawa. To sign in the petition, please go to:

Urgent Appeal Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission



Dear Friends,

In May 1963, Kazuo Ishikawa, a man of Buraku origin (a caste-like Japanese minority) from the town of Sayama, north of Tokyo, was convicted and sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit.

After 32 years in prison, Ishikawa was released on probation in 1994. Since his conviction, three appeals for retrial have been submitted in an effort to clear his name. The first two appeals were rejected by the courts. The latest, filed on May 23, 2006, offers a rich body of new evidence supporting Ishikawa’s innocence. But we need your help in urging the court to deliver justice for Ishikawa.


On the heels of the third appeal, IMADR has launched the Sayama International Solidarity Campaign to help lobby for change in the criminal justice system and fight Buraku discrimination. Join the struggle against racism in the administration of justice by visiting the new Sayama International Solidarity Campaign website (, and signing the website’s online petition (accessible directly at You can also email the site directly to others
through the ‘Tell a Friend’ function at the top of every page.

We hope that you will to join us in this campaign against racism in the administration of justice.

Kind regards,
Malaya Ileto


To:  Judge Ichitaro Ono (Fourth Criminal Division, Tokyo High Court, Japan)

For the Fair Trial of the Sayama Case
– An appeal for retrial and reinvestigation

The third petition for retrial of the Sayama Case has been filed with the Tokyo High Court, more than 43 years after the case arose in 1963. The Sayama Case raises many doubts, even from a layperson’s perspective. There is no conclusive material evidence, and there are too many unnatural and illogical points in the defendant’s confession. It is inconceivable that Kazuo 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 petition for retrial includes further new evidence such as handwriting analysis, and demands that the case be reinvestigated and that all evidence be given a comprehensive review. The courts have not reinvestigated the case since the October 1974 decision, over 30 years ago. The fact that so much time has been allowed to pass without a reinvestigation of the case or disclosure of evidence by the prosecution makes it impossible to call this a “just and fair trial,” as accorded by the Constitution.

Based on the principle within the retrial system of “aid to the innocent” and the criminal courts’ cardinal rule of “the benefit of doubt,” we petition the Tokyo High Court to retry the Sayama case and conduct a reinvestigation thereof, including the questioning of witnesses and inspection of the crime scene.

A call for action by:
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, Kwansei 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, Kwansei 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 (director, Centre for Asia Pacific Partnership, Osaka University of Economics and Law), Yakumitsuru (cartoonist)


To sign the petition, please visit

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-020-2006
Countries :
Issues : Caste-based discrimination,