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Understanding the Charges in the Nicola Furlong Case

Last updated on July 6, 2016


Black Tokyo previously reported that two Americans (not the two men pictured above) have been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting the friend of the deceased foreign exchange student, Nicola Furlong, following a Nicki Minaj concert in Tokyo. As you may well be aware, Ms. Furlong died under suspicious circumstances. Depending on what story you read, Ms. Furlong died either in the hotel room (of one of the men currently under arrest, the 19-year-old), on the way to the hospital or at the hospital. Many reports convey that Ms. Furlong was strangled based on marks found on her neck [click here for additional background].

The men, James “King Tight” Blackstone and the unidentified 19-year-old male, remain in Japanese police custody. They were charged with Article 178, “Quasi Forcible Indecency or Quasi Rape” of Ms. Furlong’s “intoxicated” friend while the group was in a taxi. The men have not been charged with the death of Ms. Furlong.

Ms. Furlong’s cause of death has been reported to be suffocation by cervical compression. Ms. Furlong’s toxicology results to see if she was drugged and sexually assaulted before her death have yet to be released. It is unknown if the unidentified woman that accompanied Furlong to the concert was tested for any substance(s) in her system. Ms. Furlong’s friend has stated that she has trouble recalling much of the events of the night. It was also reported that, “She probably witnessed (much of what happened) but she can’t remember it for some reason.” As reported by an anonymous source, “The other girl (Ms. Furlong’s friend) knew where she was just really “out of it.”.

As you know, I am not a lawyer or a doctor, just an inquisitive person trying to understand some legal and medical terms surrounding the Furlong case. If you can shed better light on terms, charges or other items relating to the case, please feel free to contribute.

THE CHARGE – Article 178, Quasi Forcible Indecency

I read portions of the Japan Penal Code to help me better understand the charge levied against Blackstone and the 19-year-old. The sections of the Japan Penal Code dealing with “(v) The crimes prescribed under Articles 176 through 179 (Forcible Indecency; Rape; Quasi Forcible Indecency and Quasi Rape; Gang Rape; Attempts), 181 (Forcible Indecency Causing Death or Injury),” are as follows:

Article 178, Quasi Forcible Indecency; Quasi Rape:

(1) A person who commits an indecent act upon a male or female by taking advantage of loss of consciousness or inability to resist, or by causing a loss of consciousness or inability to resist, shall be punished in the same manner as prescribed for in Article 176 (see below).

(2) A person who commits sexual intercourse with a female by taking advantage of a loss of consciousness or inability to resist, or by causing a loss of consciousness or inability to resist, shall be punished in the same matter as prescribed in the preceding Article.

Source (Page 38)

The following is a definition of Article 176, Forcible Indecency:

A person who, through assault or intimidation, forcibly commits an indecent act upon a male or female of not less than thirteen years of age shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not less than 6 months but not more than 10 years. The same shall apply to a person who commits an indecent act upon a male or female under thirteen years of age.

Source (Page 37)


“With regard to the custody of suspects prior to indictment, the Code of Criminal Procedure of Japan requires strict judicial reviews at each stage of the arrest, detention, and extension of the detention period, as well as placing limits on the total period of detention for up to 23 days so that while guaranteeing the human rights of suspects, investigations to reveal sufficiently the true facts of cases can be performed. The content of the provisions of the said Act is appropriate and rational.” Source


THE CAUSE OF DEATH – Suffocation by Cervical Compression

Upon further research, in my quest to understand the cause of Ms. Furlong’s death, suffocation by cervical compression, I discovered the following online:

“The 2nd cervical vertebra is above the level of the respiratory control center in the brainstem. Thus, a neck fracture which results in sufficient damage to the portion of the brainstem (or above) which controls respiration, death will occur (unless artificial ventilatory support is put in place in a timely fashion).” Source

“A spinal cord injury that occurs at C1, C2 or C3- those are the first three cervical vertebrae- will interfere with breathing and heart rate because the nerve which controls the diaphram is paralyzed. That means you can’t breathe on your own.” Source

“The respiratory system of a person suffering a spinal cord injury may be impaired due to paralysis of the chest muscles, abdominal muscles or diaphragm. The degree of impairment will vary depending on the level of spinal cord injury. Source

THE POSSIBLE PUNISHMENT – Article 181, Forcible Indecency Causing Death or Injury

I am still not positive if the Japanese term translated into English equates to Ms. Furlong being asphyxiated or if she suffered damage to her spine which led to respiratory failure. However, “IF” the 19-year-old that was reportedly alone with Ms. Furlong in the room and/or Mr. Blackstone is/are charged in Ms. Furlong’s death, the following may apply:

(Forcible Indecency Causing Death or Injury)

Article 181 (1) A person who commits a crime prescribed under Article 176, paragraph (1) of Article 178 or an attempt of the above -mentioned crimes and thereby causes the death or injury of another shall be punished by imprisonment with work for life or for a definite term of not less than 3 years.

(2) A person who commits a crime prescribed under Article 177, paragraph (2) of Article 178 or an attempt of the above-mentioned crimes and thereby causes the death or injury of another shall be punished by imprisonment with work for life or for a definite term of not less than 5 years.

Source (Page 38)

If you have any corrections or additions, please feel free to share.
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