After exhausting all legal avenues, disgraced former Livedoor CEO Takafumi Horie, age 38, appears headed for prison, where, from June, he will serve a sentence of two years and four months for securities fraud. The prosecutor had demanded four years.
Interviewing Horie in a conference room in his old stomping grounds of Roppongi Hills, Flash (June 7) asks him about what will happen to the woman in his life while he’s serving his sentence. “I’ll be out of the picture for two years,” he says. “I suppose she has other male friends, so she can do what she wants. What could be worse than being attached to somebody who’s in prison? I suppose the days are over that I can think about marriage, or having a lover.”
In preparation for his incarceration, Horie has requested his attorney to provide him with information about life in stir. For instance, he knows he’s likely to be in one of three detention facilities in the Kanto area: Shizuoka, Kurobane (Tochigi) or Kitsuregawa (Tochigi). Before this is decided, he will be administered a written aptitude test with math questions at about primary school level. (It shouldn’t be difficult as Horie graduated from the University of Tokyo.)
“Since I know how to use a personal computer, it’s likely I’ll be assigned a job involving wage disbursements to prisoners and the like. That room’s fully air conditioned,” he smiles.
When Flash’s interviewer remarks that Horie doesn’t seem to be rattled by his upcoming sentence, he replies, “No, no—I don’t like being alone. But since the duration has been decided, I’ll have hopes, and be able to talk to other people while working.”
While unhappy with the prosecutor’s aggressive pursuit of his case, Horie directs his final words toward the youth of Japan. After the recent food poisoning incident from eating ultra-cheap raw beef, he has concluded, “Even if you cling to this country, it has no future. It’s better for young people if they just let go.”
In an accompanying piece, Flash looks at the rules and regulations that will be in force during Horie’s sentence. His personal correspondence will be reviewed by censors before going on to their recipient. In addition to reading matter sent to him from outside, penitents receive copies of “Hito” (person), a nationally circulated monthly newspaper.
Shopping for basic items such as toothpaste must be conducted by filling out an application form.
The article notes that while in stir, convicts may marry, divorce and adopt children. “Among men serving life sentences, marriages are quite common. I guess the women aren’t willing to wait for them to be released,” remarks novelist Tominao Kageno, author of “Kabukicho Negotiator” and himself a former penitent.
While they are not permitted to run for public office or vote in elections, men behind bars are permitted to change their legally registered domicile on the outside.
Women who begin serving their sentence while pregnant are moved to a hospital prior to their giving birth, but cannot bring the newborn into prison; such children are raised by relatives or given up for adoption.
As a part of their rehabilitation, prisoners in stir may work toward certifications or degrees in a wide variety of occupational specialties. A source in the department of corrections says that if recognized as essential, they can even arrange to study English conversation or telecommunications.
The small stipend prison occupants earn from their labor is not subject to taxation. However, taxes are expected to be paid on any remuneration they earn from writing for publications or income from property rentals, etc. In principle, they also have the right to start new businesses, buy and sell property and file lawsuits.
Horie may not make appearances on TV or radio. Nor will he be permitted to use tobacco or alcoholic beverages for the duration.
If someone on the outside sends Horie a gift of a magazine—like Flash—with raunchy photos, the guards are likely to allow him to receive it, on condition that the contents don’t include sadomasochism or homosexuality. The list didn’t pull punches when it came to masturbation, which in the regulations is termed “the crime of rubbing the genitals.” Violators are subject to punishment. “It’s hardest on men right after they receive a visit from a woman,” Kageno remarks.
Photo credit: Sat666 / Wikimedia.
Article translated from the Shukan Post and originally appeared in JapanToday.