Horiemon 3

I was one of the reporters rushing around March 16 to tell the world the verdict in the trial of Livedoor founder Takafumi Horie.
Since foreign media are assigned only two seats for some 10 news organizations that wish to get into the courtroom, we have to play a musical chairs version of reporting.
We get armbands from the ninth floor PR office that show to court security that we are indeed reporters. We pass each other the armbands like a relay racer.
The trial is attracting a great deal of attention. TV was an endless stream of Livedoor reporting. TV and still photo cameras aren’t allowed in Japanese courtrooms except for the first few minutes before the session starts. And so what we see (is Horie wearing a tie? What color is the tie? Is he hair slicked back? Or spiky?) is important.
When Horie asked the judge to let him leave the courtroom, we all had to rush out to relay that information, although we had no idea what was going on. I thought he had to go throw up.
When Horie came back five minute later, looking pretty much the same as when he had left, we had to all rush out again and relay THAT.
His lawyer told us later that he hadn’t been feeling well all day and he probably needed to use the bathroom. Horie, appearing in a TV interview in the evening, said he had diarrhea.
The whole drama is far from over because Horie is appealing.
Besides the question of his innocence, there are others:
Is the same punishment being fairly doled out for a comparable crime? I don’t remember cases of executives of major companies ever getting prison terms for this kind of white collar crime.
Does a guilty plea win lenience? I.e., what is Miyauchi’s verdict/sentence going to be next week?
How sane is a justice system that convicts 99.9 percent of its defendants?
It is often difficult to hear what the judge is mumbling from where the foreign media must sit _ the very back row.
Fortunately, all the Japanese reporters who get to sit up front are all yelling the news in their version of relay tag:
Guilty, guilty, guilty. Two years six months prison. Two years six months prison. Two years six months prison.