Japanese diplomat in US gets year in jail for wife abuse

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A Japanese diplomat based in California and charged with abusing his wife has been sentenced to a year in jail and will start serving it in May, a newspaper reported.

Yoshiaki Nagaya, vice-consul at Japan's consulate in San Francisco, will spend a minimum of six months at a jail in nearby San Mateo, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Monday, quoting deputy district attorney Tricia Povah.

Nagaya had reached a plea deal in the case back in December. That reduced his maximum possible sentence from 20 years to just one year.

Nagaya, who is 33, had been charged with 17 felony offenses, 14 of domestic violence and three of assault, including stabbing his wife with a screwdriver and knocking out one of her teeth.

He pleaded no contest to two counts of domestic violence in court in December under a deal in which prosecutors agreed to drop other charges, including assault with a deadly weapon.

US authorities said that his vice-consul status does not afford him immunity from prosecution for crimes unrelated to his diplomatic work, such as the domestic violence charges against him.

Mr Nobuhiro Watanabe, the deputy consul general at Japan's Consulate General in San Francisco, told the newspaper: "We just reported back to Tokyo what we heard from the judge. As of today he is the vice consul, and I emphasise 'as of today."

Nagay's wife Yuka Nagaya testified that her marriage was a turbulent one. She said she and her husband argued a lot over her suspicions that he was being unfaithful and visits from her in-laws.

She has returned to Japan.

In addition to his jail sentence, Nagaya must complete 104 hours of domestic violence counseling.