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|Monday, August 27, 2001, updated at 16:30(GMT+8)|
Japanese Judge Gets Suspended Prison Term Over Child ProstitutionThe Tokyo District Court on Monday sentenced Tokyo High Court Judge Yasuhiro Muraki to two years in prison, suspended for five years, on charges of paying teenage girls for sex.
In handing down the ruling, Presiding Judge Megumi Yamamuro said, ''As a watcher of law, you must have been conscious of having to discipline yourself strictly, yet you repeated your shameful conduct. It is indescribable.''
ccording to the ruling, Muraki in January paid a 14-year-old junior high school girl 20,000 yen to have sex with him at a hotel in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, in violation of the anti-child prostitution law.
He also paid cash to have sex with a 15-year-old girl and to fondle a 16-year-old girl in April, the ruling said.
Yamamuro said, however, that handing down a prison term that was not suspended simply because Muraki, 43, is an incumbent judge would be too harsh a punishment for the crime.
The Diet's Judge Impeachment Court said last week that Muraki's impeachment trial will begin Sept. 20, and that it has decided to suspend him until a decision is reached.
If Muraki is dismissed, he will be the fifth judge ever to be dismissed in Japan. He submitted his resignation to the high court May 23, but the offer has been shelved due to the impeachment trial.
Muraki was appointed to the high court after working as an assistant judge at the Hiroshima District Court, the Nagoya Family Court and the Kanazawa district and family courts, as well as a judge at the Yamaguchi family and district courts. He passed the National Bar Examination in 1983.
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