Tokyo court rejects damages for cancer death of man detained on false charges

A court in Japan has turned down a damages claim over the death of a company executive diagnosed with cancer while in detention on wrongful charges. His bereaved family said he was not given proper medical care.

The Tokyo District Court on Thursday rejected the claim for state compensation sought by the family of Aishima Shizuo, who was an adviser at a chemical machinery maker in Yokohama, near Tokyo. The court stated the medical practice at the detention center was reasonable.

Aishima and two other executives of the firm Ohkawara Kakohki were arrested in 2020 on suspicion of illegally exporting goods that could be used for military purposes. The three were indicted, but the charges were later withdrawn.

Aishima was diagnosed with cancer while in detention, but was denied bail. He was eventually transferred to a hospital outside the center, but he died before his name was cleared.

The procedure for criminal indemnity has been taken for the executives. Aishima's bereaved family also sought 10 million yen, or over 66,000 dollars, in damages from the state. The family said Aishima did not receive proper checkups or treatment, which delayed his diagnosis and led to his early death.

Turning down the compensation claim, Presiding Judge Otokozawa Satoko said a doctor at the detention center carried out examinations and blood transfusions to deal with Aishima's anemic condition and suspected digestive tract bleeding.

The judge said the doctor also arranged for him to move to a hospital outside the center, and gave sufficient explanations to him.

Otokozawa said the medical practice was reasonable and the center's acts were not illegal.

Aishima's eldest son said the ruling was regrettable as the court did not fully understand the suffering of his father after his cancer diagnosis while in detention.

The son said the court in effect confirmed that the ideas of medical practice and actual care at a detention center differ from those of normal society.

In a separate civil lawsuit filed by the executives and Aishima's family, the Tokyo District Court ordered the state and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to pay 162 million yen in compensation.

The court ruled that investigations by Tokyo police and prosecutors were partly illegal.

Both the defendants and plaintiffs have appealed the ruling.