Family ties and culture of silence no match for Japan's courts
From a man who cruelly beat his mother to death to the retired yakuza gangster, the reluctance to talk about private issues is completely reversed when it comes to court cases, writes Paul Murphy
Japanese carpenter Takeshi Tomioka hated his mother for decades - but he didn't kill her until she was 91.
On a cold night in January 2013, in rural Nagano Prefecture, he pummelled her to death - fracturing or breaking her bones in 33 places. He went to work the next morning leaving her body for his wife to find.
Mr Tomioka (58), who was jailed for five years for the crime, had done a monstrous thing, but he didn't appear to be a monster. The district court of Matsumoto City, where he was tried, heard evidence that he was a reliable worker and although he regularly got drunk at home and bored his family with what his wife described as his "lecturing" on the economy and other weighty matters, he was apparently loved as a father and grandfather.