Japanese Consular Official Charged with Domestic Abuse

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REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — A staff member at the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco has been charged with 16 counts of domestic violence against his wife.

Vice Consul Yoshiaki Nagaya, 32, of San Bruno is accused of several attacks on his wife of 18 months between Jan. 12, 2011 and March 31 of this year.

Yoshiaki Nagaya (San Mateo County Sheriff's Office)

According to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, the victim is “much smaller” than the suspect and was subjected to “constant domestic violence during the course of their marriage while they lived in both San Francisco and San Bruno.”

“Violence included occasions when he stabbed her in the hand with a screwdriver, knocked her tooth out during another assault, and stomped on her other times,” said prosecutor Tricia Povah. “The victim photographed her injuries after every attack. In March during an argument, the suspect threw her out of the car in their apartment parking garage and she had scrapes on her face and knees.

“The victim decided to go to police and described the long-term abuse. A police investigation was initiated and the suspect was arrested.”

The case went before Judge Leland Davis in South San Francisco Felony Court on Monday for the initial felony arraignment. Nagaya appeared with retained counsel Gerrick Lew and pleaded not guilty. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 14.

The prosecution motion to increase bail in light of the additional charges was granted. The court set bail at $350,000 — $50,000 less than the prosecution wanted — and remanded the defendant into custody. Nagaya had been out of custody on $25,000 bail bond. He was able to post the $350,000 in cash and has been released.

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told reporters that diplomatic immunity may apply to actions by consular officials in the performance of their duties, but not to their private lives.

Deputy Consul General Michio Harada told The San Francisco Chronicle that Nagaya is still employed with the consulate. “We are very much interested in the development of the judicial proceedings,” Harada said. “If true, it is quite regrettable.”

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