A court found a 38-year-old man guilty Tuesday for obstructing business at a central Japan town hall in April by acting like a person infected with the novel coronavirus and attempting to spread it to workers.
The Nagoya District Court gave Norikazu Kita an 18-month prison term, suspended for three years, with Presiding Judge Takahiro Iwami saying Kita's action at the Oharu town hall "lacked prudence in light of the serious impact coronavirus is having on the society."
But Iwami said the court handed down a suspended sentence as Kita had shown remorse. Prosecutors had sought an 18-month prison term for the accused, who said in a previous hearing that he had simply "wanted to surprise the workers."
According to the ruling, Kita went to the Oharu town hall in Aichi Prefecture at around 10:25 a.m. on April 17, and made comments such as "I have coronavirus" and "I have tested positive" to workers on the first-floor lobby. The town hall was temporarily closed due to his behavior.
On April 16, a nationwide state of emergency was declared in Japan to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.