Buraku Liberation News, March 1997 issue (N0.95)

2. Mr Ishikawa, the accused of the Sayama case, married.

Mr Kazuo Ishikawa, 58, held a press conference in Tokyo on January 31, 1997, announcing his marriage to his supporter from Tokushima Prefecture, while expressing his determination to win his case.

His partner is Sachiko, who has supported him to win his innocence for more than 20 years. The couple registered their marriage on December 21, 1996, just two years to the day after his conditional release from Chiba Prison.

Mr Ishikawa said that they had decided not to have a wedding ceremony until he wins a retrial and obtains his innocence. He got a job at a factory in Saitama Prefecture in September 1996. While he engaged in the packing of chilled food at the factory, he actively attends gatherings designed to support him in several parts of Japan .

Mr Ishikawa, born and brought up in a Buraku community, Sayama City, Saitama Prefecture, was falsely arrested and charged in 1963 with the kidnap-murder of a high school girl, and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1974 by the Tokyo High Court. An appeal to the supreme court and a subsequent retrial appeal to the high court were dismissed despite a lot of evidence for his innocence presented by his lawyers. The second retrial appeal was filed in 1986.

In the meantime, Mr Ishikawa was given a conditional release from prison in 1994 after imprisonment for 31 years. However, the guilty verdict remains unchanged. This case was based on Buraku discrimination at its root.