*Content Warning: The Following News Article mentions Child Pornography Related Charges*
Following the recent arrest of Manga Translator Stefan Koza, there has been a report from 2014 that has come to light from The Sankei Shimbun, the Sixth-Highest Circulated Newspaper in Japan. Anime News Network’s Jennifer Sherman was the first to report it, according to both News Organizations, Koza was arrested on July 15th, 2014 in the town of Kami, Miyagi (located in the Prefecture of Miyagi) for violating Japan’s Minor Offenses Act by trespassing and secretly taking recordings in an elementary school’s girls’ dressing room. Koza reportedly denied the charges at the time. The Minor Offenses Act was passed in 1948, it covers a variety of minor criminal offenses. The act includes articles related to trespassing and voyeurism.
Between late March 2014 and June 19, 2014, at around 1:10 p.m., Koza allegedly trespassed into the girls’ dressing room at the school, placed a digital video camera, and secretly took recordings. According to the board of education in Kami, a female fifth-year student at the school found a suspicious black paper box inside the girls’ locker room on June 19, 2014. The box had a hole and a digital camera positioned inside. The Kami school or board of education filed a criminal complaint to police Kami on July 14, 2014, but Koza reportedly stated at a staff meeting at the school that the camera was his, but he had lost it about one month prior.
Koza, who was 26 at the time and a US Citizen at the time of his arrest in Japan reportedly became an assistant language teacher (ALT) at the school in August 2009. Koza’s LinkedIn profile stated that he was an ALT on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program at an unspecified elementary school in Japan from August 2009 to July 2014. It was October 2nd, 2014 when the Sankei Shimbun had reported also that the Kami police filed charges against the school’s principal and vice-principal on October 1st of that year under suspicion of concealing evidence. After the camera was discovered on June 19th, 2014, the school’s principal and vice-principal reportedly hid it inside the school until July 14th, the day a criminal complaint was filed. The principal and vice-principal reportedly admitted to the charges and said that they were trying to protect themselves.
The principal and vice-principal had reportedly told the town’s board of education on July 11th, 2014 that a camera had been discovered, but they falsely claimed that no secret recordings were taken. However, reports of the illicit recordings spread among students and their families. The principal and vice-principal then admitted that there had been recordings, and a criminal report was filed on July 14th. After filing charges against the principal and vice-principal, the board of education in Kami held an informational meeting to discuss the situation with students’ families on October 2nd, 2014.
Viz Media Responded to a recent request for comment from both Anime News Network and Crunchyroll stating “Stefan Koza is not a full-time/permanent, salary employee at VIZ, he is in fact an independent contractor. We do have several translators who are freelancers/independent contractors working across a wide array of properties including those Mr. Koza has contributed to, and therefore Mr Koza’s personal life will not have an impact on the release schedule of upcoming titles.“
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