Occult takes center stage in Yokota trial
Stars and Stripes June 6, 2003
A lawyer for the Japanese woman accused of trying to ignite a Yokota Air Base captain is trying to lay the blame on the woman’s companion.
The third hearing for Kimiko Kishiguchi was held Tuesday at the Hachioji branch of Tokyo District Court.
Kishiguchi is charged with dousing Air Force Capt. Samuel A. Pupich with flammable fuel and flicking two lighters at him June 25, 2002, as he sat in his car outside the Fussa train station. The alleged attempt was unsuccessful, and Pupich drove away unharmed.
Kishiguchi’s defense lawyer, Mizuyo Nakagawa, claimed in court that Nanae In, a South Korean, controlled Kishiguchi’s life and persuaded her to ignite Pupich.
Kishiguchi had accompanied In to the train station, where In planned to meet Pupich.
On Tuesday, Nakagawa presented evidence from the police investigation that, she said, showed In also tried to control the minds of two Osaka women, Kaori Suehiro and Junko Ueno.
In attempted to persuade one of the women to kill an American from Los Angeles, they told police. And Suehiro won a civil lawsuit against In in 2001, reclaiming some of the money she claims In swindled from her.
Since the incident, Kishiguchi has apologized to Pupich.
Nakagawa said her client expressed sorrow in a letter she mailed to Pupich through Yokota’s 374th Airlift Wing legal office. Officials there told Stars and Stripes that Kishiguchi’s letter was turned over to the captain about three weeks ago. Kishiguchi said Tuesday she has not heard from Pupich.
Kishiguchi’s mother, Miyae, visited Yokota on Monday to meet the captain but was informed Pupich had been reassigned to a base in the United States. She told Stripes she wanted to apologize to Pupich and “explain the situation surrounding her daughter.”
On cross-examination, prosecutor Kazuto Takahashi asked Kishiguchi whether she knew her actions could have endangered Pupich’s life.
Kishiguchi said she sought advice from her guardian spirit, “Nyan Nyan,” through In, who acted as a psychic medium. The spirit told her that much unhappiness would result if she did not set the captain on fire and that she could die, she said. The spirit also conveyed that since Pupich was born under a lucky star, he wouldn’t die and Kishiguchi would receive some of his good fortune.
No explanation has been offered about why In allegedly tried to make Kishiguchi set the captain on fire.
Fussa police arrested Kishiguchi and In in January and charged them with suspicion of attempted murder. The Hachioji prosecutor’s office reduced the charges on Kishiguchi from attempted murder to “threats” and released In on Jan. 29 — with the caveat she remains under investigation and could still face legal proceedings.
If convicted, Kishiguchi could receive a maximum punishment of less than two years in jail or a fine of less than $2,500. The next hearing is June 30.
— Jennifer Svan contributed to this report.