After the discovery and rescue of Sano, the police in Japan were much criticized. Satō was already known to police for inflicting violence against another girl on June 13, 1989, for which he was convicted on September 19, 1989. However, his name somehow disappeared from the list of criminals, and he was not considered a suspect in the abduction of Sano in 1990. Also, at the time of Sano's rescue, Niigata Prefectural Police chief, Koji Kobayashi, did not show up to the police station to supervise the situation, but spent his evening playing mah-jong with the head of the Regional Police Bureaus. Due to this, and subsequent errors by the police, Kobayashi resigned on February 26, 2000, and the head of the Regional Police Bureaus resigned on February 29, 2000.