Statement on the Decision of the Supreme Court regarding the 7th Request for Retrial of the Nabari Poisoned Wine Case
On April 5, 2010, the Supreme Court heard a special appeal filed by Mr. Masaru Okunishi in the trial popularly known as the Nabari Poisoned Wine Case, concerning his 7th request for retrial. The Court discharged the earlier decision of the Nagoya High Court not to open his retrial and ordered the review of its decision.
This original incident occurred in Nabari, Mie Prefecture, in March 1961 and concerned more than 10 people who either died or were injured after drinking wine poisoned with an agricultural chemical. Mr. Okunishi was acquitted by the court of first instance but sentenced to death by a higher court with the Supreme Court later finalizing his death penalty. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) set up a sub-committee on the Nabari Case in the JFBA Human Rights Protection Committee in 1973 and has been providing its maximum support to him since that time.
We particularly appreciate the fact that the Supreme Court discharged the decision of the Nagoya High Court while noting that, “The Nagoya High Court failed to examine the case from a scientific point of view and its process of reasoning was erroneous.”
However, it is obvious that serious doubts exist in the finalized conviction and equally clear that the retrial of Mr. Okunishi, who is already eighty four years of age, should be immediately opened. The JFBA deplores the decision of the Supreme Court in not deciding to open the retrial but instead to send the case back to the Nagoya High Court.
The JFBA urges the Nagoya High Court to immediately review the case and decide to open a retrial without further delay.
The JFBA expresses its commitment to provide every support for Mr. Okunishi until he wins a full acquittal and is successfully released from death row.
April 6, 2010
Japan Federation of Bar Associations