A Story in Yokohama

A Story in Yokohama-27

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A Story in Yokohama-27

A Story in Yokohama -27Courtyard of Flowers
A Story in Yokohama Subtitled "Longing"-27

The trials of Naomi and Yuichi were separated, and although they were the same inheritance tax evasion case, the trial of the accused Naomi Fukada proceeded on the premise that she admitted to the crime.

Therefore, the trial proceeded swiftly because the defense lawyer, who was newly involved with Naomi and was a friend of her husband, accepted without objection all the evidence presented by the prosecutor.

On the other hand, in the trial of the suspect Yuichi, a procedure was held to sort out the evidence to be taken or rejected, and the defense lawyer disagreed with all of the statement evidence prepared by  the prosecutor, so the witnesses required by both the prosecutor and the defense lawyer were called to the court for questioning.

In addition, the lawyer asked a close friend of his, a tax lawyer, to write a paper stating that there was no academic rationale for the inheritance tax notice that differed greatly in treatment after a certain percentage of shareholding, and he himself also wrote a written opinion stating that the valuation was not suitable for a criminal case, which he submitted as evidence.

The trial was conducted by a panel of three judges, and they also discussed the papers submitted by the lawyers.
One of the jury judges said.
“The defendant's lawyer is arguing that the evaluation does not fit into the criminal case.”
The other judge murmured.
“...It's an understandable argument in some respects.”

Naomi was called as a witness in the case of the suspect, Yuichi Murakami.
At the beginning, the judge asked Naomi to take a sworn oath.

Chief Judge asked Naomi.
“Please read the document there and swear under oath that you will not tell any lies. You know what it states?”

Naomi looked over the document.
“Your Honor, I would like to confirm something.”
“What is it?”

“This document says that I swear to tell no falsehoods, please tell me to whom I swear.”
The judge looked a little surprised.
“I've never been asked that before, but I would venture to say that you swear to whoever is in this courtroom: the judge, the prosecutor, and the lawyers.”

“I'm a Christian and I've only sworn to God. I can only swear to God.”
“All right, then, please read out your oath to the God you believe in, but be careful not to lie under oath afterwards, as you may be punished.”

“I swear to tell the truth according to my conscience, to conceal nothing, and to tell no falsehoods.”
Naomi read out the oath.

Yuichi's defense lawyer asked questions one after another.
<The defendant, Murakami, has no motive to lead the tax evasion. On the other hand, as a taxpayer, wouldn't it have been better if the tax amount was smaller?  >

<The accused Murakami was loved and cared for by you and the deceased since he was a child. How do you think he could have done such a thing to bring you down? >

<After the death of the decedent, the shares of Milan Travel Agency were given by you to the defendant and put in his name. This could not have been done without your consent, and the defendant has stated that he could not refuse the request since he was asked to do so by a grateful witness. What do you think about this? >

Naomi said the following.
“I've known Yuichi since he was a little boy, because he was a child of my neighbor's house, with whom I used to have a family relationship. I am aware of what Yuichi is currently seeking in the trial, so it is very painful for me to answer the lawyer's question.
However, when I rudely told the Chief Justice earlier, ‘To whom do I swear an oath?’ and then said, ‘I swear to God as a Christian,’ it was my determination to tell the truth that would have cut off Yuichi's hope.”

The audience listened quietly to her answer.
Her testimony continued.

“After my husband's death, Yuichi bought a loaf of bread from a famous bakery and brought it to me for lunch, as he was concerned about my poor diet. Yuichi told me that I could get a tax break if I pretended to have transferred my husband's shares during his lifetime. The only way to pay the tax was to sell the shares, but I didn't want to do that for the sake of the staff of Milano Travel Agency that my husband left behind, so I really appreciated his proposal.

At that time, I asked, ‘Isn't that tax evasion?’
And he replied, ‘It's not tax evasion because we're trying to keep everyone out of trouble.’
To be honest, I was well aware at the time that Yuichi's suggestion would be considered tax evasion.

In the latter half of my life, I lived as the wife of a president who had no shortage of money, but when my husband started his own company, I helped him with the payroll and accounting work. Based on such experience, no, even without such experience, I knew that it was not right to draw up a contract going back to the time before my husband's death. And if doing it the wrong way would result in lower taxes, it would definitely be tax evasion.”

The lawyer interrupted Naomi's testimony with a question.
“So you agreed to make the shares transaction retroactive, knowing from the beginning that it was a tax evasion scheme?
“Yes, I did.”

“You said that you were well aware of what kind of acts constituted tax evasion, but didn't you force the defendant Murakami, an earnest and good tax accountant, to reduce the amount of tax due?”

At this point, the prosecutor expressed his opinion.
“The witness's statement that she was aware that it constituted tax evasion is an honest and sincere admission. I think the purpose of the defense's question is to clarify which party took the initiative in the fraudulent act, but since the witness is sincerely trying to state the facts, why don't we listen to her testimony without interrupting her answer?”

The judge also said the following.
“I think this testimony is important to clarify how the defendant was involved in the case, so as long as the witness' answer does not deviate from the purpose of the question, I would like to hear what she has to say.”
Then, turning to Naomi, he said, “I understand that you accepted Murakami's proposal for a false transfer, and I would like to ask you how you felt about it.”

“When I received the proposal, I felt that Yuichi, who until then seemed to be nothing but a boy, had become a man for the first time. Of course, I could see that he wanted to offer me a tax break and to get his hands on Milano's shares. But I was happy. I was happy to think that Yuichi, who had seemed so docile and weak, was now able to construct and say such amazing things.”

“You were happy?”
The judge asked back.

“I'm sorry for saying things that are against the law and justice, but since I am under oath, I am stating the facts as they are.
Up until then, Yuichi had been a cute but unattractive young man who was simply following the rails laid out for him by his father. However, for some unknown reason, he suddenly came to me with a false transfer offer. I asked him, ‘Are you going to change the shares to be transferred to Yuichi's name?’ He said, ‘Yes, but it's actually your shares, so I'll put a letter of reminder.’

While exchanging these words, I also understood Yuichi's feeling of expecting the shares as a reward for implementing the plan. But I was surprised that this cute boy had come up with such a bold plan and was trying to persuade me to carry it out. At the same time, I sensed a wild man in him that I had never seen before, and I was happy to think that this plan would be the beginning of a raw expression of his self, as he had only seemed to be obedient.

I wanted to help him for two reasons: one, so that I wouldn't have to sell my shares, and two, so that he could achieve his self-fulfillment. In fact, if I took Yuichi's suggestion, I would pay only a fraction of the amount of tax I would have to pay, so I said, ‘I don't need a letter of intent. I'll give you the shares.’ ”

The judge said.
“From what you've just told me, you agreed to the defendant's proposal knowing full well that it would constitute tax evasion. Are you aware, then, that you will be held fully responsible for the evasion of inheritance tax regardless of how the defendant's actions are evaluated in court?”
She replied firmly.
“Of course. I have no intention of shirking my responsibility for the tax evasion I have committed.”

“We will examine the accused, based on your testimony, as to whether or not he conspired or aided and abetted in the tax evasion, and to what extent. Again, regardless of the extent of the defendant's involvement, you will likely be held responsible for all tax evasion, but will you still testify that the defendant suggested it?”

“Yes. Yuichi, regardless of his own intentions, did his best to come up with a plan for us heirs, even going beyond the scope of his duties as a tax accountant. I am still grateful to him for that. However, even after thinking and implementing such a bold plan, if things turn out this way due to a miscalculation, I think the true way to live is to accept the facts and take responsibility gracefully. I think that when a person finds out that he has lost a game, he must accept that fact and take responsibility for it in order to start over in life.
However, Yuichi, although he assigned me a bold plan, when it came to this, he ran away. I don't think this is right. I am determined to educate him for the rest of his life with my testimony in this court. I want to teach him the strength to accept the facts and not to run away from them.”

Yuichi's lawyer asked a question.
“You may have been close associate with the defendant Murakami for a long time, but you are still just a stranger. It's hard to understand why you would be happy for someone else to make an illegal suggestion, or why you would want to give someone else the education of a lifetime. After all, isn't the witness trying to mitigate her own guilt by attributing her own responsibility to the accused?”

Naomi responded.
“Yuichi and I are not directly related, but there was a person who cared for him until her last breath. I have inherited that person's spirit.”
“What kind of person is that? Who is it?”

“I can't tell you right now.”
“I think you're saying unreliable thing. If there is such a person, please testify properly.”

When the lawyer asked this, a sharp voice came from the audience.
“Don't say anything else.”
Naomi looked at the owner of the voice, and her expression changed to one of astonishment.

The judge gave the speaker a stern warning.
“If you interrupt her testimony again, you will be asked to leave the courtroom.”
He then turned to Naomi and said, “This is getting a little out of the point. Please explain honestly why you were happy with the defendant's proposal.”

“It was the first time I received a bold proposal from Yuichi, whom I thought was only cute. It may not be the right direction, but I accepted his plan because I thought it was part of the process of him becoming independent.”

“That sounds ridiculous.”
The lawyer said.

Naomi testified honestly in the courtroom about her feelings of accepting Yuichi's proposal after swearing an oath to the God of her faith.

...To be continued...

-A Story in Yokohama

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