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LOS ANGELES - A Japanese diplomat posted in California has been charged with domestic violence against his wife and could face up to 20 years in jail, the local district attorney said Tuesday.
Yoshiaki Nagaya, vice-consul at Japan's consulate in San Francisco, is accused of 17 felony offenses, 14 of domestic violence and three of assault, including stabbing her with a screwdriver and knocking a tooth out.
The 32-year-old pled guilty in court on Monday, and was released on bail of $350,000, said San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe, adding that the alleged offenses occurred between January 2011 and March 2012.
"The violence ranged (from) pushing and shoving, and bruising upwards (to) the most serious, (when) he knocked a tooth out. On another occasion he jabbed her or stabbed her in the hand .. with a screwdriver.
"On another occasion he knocked her down and stomped on her with his foot .. The final occasion was when he shoved her out of a car in their parking garage, causing scrapes to her face and knees."
He added: "That was when she decided that enough was enough, and she went to the police."
Nagaya does not have diplomatic immunity for the alleged offenses. "There is immunity, but not when you're doing things in your purely private life, for somebody at his level," said Wagstaffe.
Both Nagaya and his wife are due back in court on June 14 for a preliminary hearing. A restraining order was issued, barring the diplomat from having any contact with his wife in the meantime.
Michio Harada, the deputy consul general at Japan's Consulate General in San Francisco, said Nagaya remained on the staff pending developments or a decision from Tokyo.
"If those charges are true it would be quite regrettable, certainly, but we would like to see how the court proceedings develop and then the final outcome," he told AFP.
The consulate general was not providing legal support. "This is not related to our official work, it's a private thing, so I understand he has his own lawyer for a criminal case."
Regarding Nagaya's job, he added: "The decision is mostly made by Tokyo but at this moment I don't think we can do anything .. He is with us now. He's not in the office, but he works for us."