The Japan Pro Boxing Association’s committee to support former professional boxer Iwao Hakamada, 83, who was convicted in a 1966 quadruple murder case, and other supporting groups jointly held a rally in front of the Supreme Court in Tokyo on Aug. 18, seeking a retrial, even though he was freed in 2014 after spending nearly half a century on death row.
Committee head Shosei Nitta, head of the Kawasaki Nitta Gym near Tokyo, appealed for Hakamada’s innocence by utilizing the comic strips entitled ‘’Split Decision, Iwao Hakamada, Innocent Former Pro Boxer’’
‘’We began to use comic strips because there still are lots of people who don’t know much about the Hakamada case, and that would make it easier for children to understand the case,’’ according to Nitta.
‘’If we can translate the Japanese sentences, we will be able to make the case known throughout the world,’’ Yutaka Manabe, head of the Manabe Gym who was also in the rally, added.
The term ‘’split decision’’ is liken to a boxing judgement and comes from the fact that two of the three judges at the Shizuoka District Court in Shizuoka Prefecture rendered a death sentence in 1968 although one of them doubted the decision and later quit his job.
While his release from the Tokyo Detention House received widespread media coverage in Japan, the Tokyo High Court, in addition to ordering the reopening of the case, suspended his death sentence as well as his continued detention in 2018.
Hakamada, who now lives in Shimizu in the central Japanese prefecture with his elder sister Hideko, has not been placed back in detention so far, with the high court saying that considering his age and health condition, he is unlikely to flee.
Hakamada, who was a former featherweight fighter, filed an appeal with the Supreme Court in which he is seeking exoneration.