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Noisy Japanese Neighbor Gets Jail Time

December 27, 2006

TOKYO (AP) _ A Japanese woman charged with inflicting injury on her neighbor by blasting rock music at her house for 2 1/2 years was given a 20-month prison term, a court official said.

Miyoko Kawahara, 59, was sentenced Tuesday by the Osaka High Court, revoking an initial ruling that had given her a one-year prison term, court spokesman Takanao Kawasaki said.

Kawahara, of Heguri in western Japan, was arrested in April 2005. She was accused of causing insomnia and headaches to her next-door neighbor by playing loud dance music almost 24 hours a day on a portable stereo she had pointed at her neighbor’s house, 20 feet away.

The two women had had several disagreements that police did not elaborate on.

``The defendant ignored calls by local authorities and continuously played music at a high volume for some 29 months,″ Kyodo News agency quoted presiding Judge Hiroshi Furukawa as telling the court.

In handing down a longer prison term than a local court ruling last April, Furukawa told the court that the defendant ``still maintains a hostile attitude toward the victim and it is highly likely she will commit the crime again,″ Kyodo said.

Doctors had diagnosed the neighbor as having insomnia and headaches they attributed to the noise. Kawahara started blasting the music in November 2002 and continued until her arrest.

Under Japanese law, those convicted of inflicting injury on another person face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

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