Supreme Court recognizes PTSD as injury in ruling
The Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a man convicted of confining and abusing women, in a ruling that recognized post-traumatic stress disorder as an injury under the Penal Code for the first time.
Two lower court rulings had already sentenced Yasuyoshi Ishijima, 31, whose family name was Kobayashi at the time of his arrest, to 14 years in prison for assault and confinement resulting in injury. According to the rulings, Ishijima confined four women at hotels and in his apartment in Tokyo for varying lengths of time, the longest of which was four months.
He met the women, who at the time were aged from 17 to 23, online or at events over a year starting in December 2003. During their confinement, Ishijima punched the women's faces and bodies, and threatened them by saying, "I'll kill your parents and siblings."
The women developed serious PTSD, including sleep disorders.
The Second Petty Branch of the Supreme Court, presided over by Justice Katsumi Chiba, on Tuesday finalized the prison term handed down by the Tokyo District Court and the Tokyo High Court.
Defense lawyers argued psychological disorders such as PTSD were not recognized as injuries under the Penal Code. However, the top court dismissed the claim based on the lower courts' rulings, which said the victims' PTSD had developed as a result of assault and intimidation.
"It is appropriate to interpret psychological disorders as injuries under the Penal Code," the Supreme Court ruling said.
(Jul. 27, 2012)