Legal experts were stunned by yesterday’s news that former actor Oshio Manabu (32) has been allowed out on bail. The Tokyo District Court recently handed him a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for four offenses related to his involvement in the August 2009 death of Ginza hostess Tanaka Kaori, a decision Oshio’s lawyers have appealed. Nine separate applications for bail were previously turned down by the district court, but the Tokyo High Court finally ruled in Oshio’s favor. As the public prosecutors didn’t object to the decision, Oshio was released yesterday evening after paying ¥10million (about $120,000).
It was his first taste of freedom after 301 days in detention. With his hair down to his shoulders, and wearing a black jacket, white shirt, jeans and sneakers, he bowed briefly to the 200 reporters gathered outside the detention center before speeding away in a waiting taxi. He is believed to have spent the night at a hotel in Shinjuku and is heading home to his Tama City apartment on the outskirts of the capital today. His lawyer said that Oshio wants to pay his respects at Tanaka’s grave and explain himself to her parents. They declined to make a comment to the media after hearing the news.
Lawyer and former public prosecutor Osawa Takayuki (65) said, “No matter what the crime, when a prison sentence has been given, there is the risk of flight or a repeat offense, so it is customary not to award bail. In this case, prosecutors did not appeal the length of the sentence, and in the appeals court the main charge has been reduced from fatal abandonment to simply abandonment, so the seriousness of the crime has been reduced.”
Nihon University law professor Itakura Hiroshi (76) said, “I can see no reason to award bail. But as it has been given, ¥10 million seems the right amount.”