crime

19-yr-old held for murder after body found following apartment fire

35 Comments

A 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of a woman was found following an apartment fire in Otafukecho, Hokkaido, police said Tuesday.

According to police, firefighters pulled the body of beautician Erika Konno, 31, from the charred remains of the apartment at around 9:30 a.m. Monday, Fuji TV reported.

The suspect, who lived in an apartment above Konno, was waiting for police to arrive and confessed to having stabbed Konno and starting the fire. Police found a blood-covered knife in his apartment.

The suspect, who is a minor and cannot be named, was quoted by police as saying he just wanted to kill someone and didn't matter who it was.

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35 Comments
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Commit murder and arson and walk away free since you are a minor. Japan needs to update its justice system.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Commit murder and arson and walk away free since you are a minor. Japan needs to update its justice system.

Let us know when you're done berating Japan for nothing that was said in the article, and nothing that actually happens in real life.

-10 ( +6 / -17 )

Scary...The culprit was quoted as saying they just wanted to kill a random person, anyone was okay

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Stranger land: "Let us know when you're done berating Japan for nothing that was said in the article, and nothing that actually happens in real life."

A lot was said in the article, actually. First and foremost that he is not being named because he is a "child" at 19, despite the heinousness of his crime. This also means that, as usual in Japan, he'll probably not be tried as an adult, which in turn means the maximum time he can spend in a reformatory for "just wanting to kill someone" and doing it is a few months. Then he's free. And you're saying this doesn't happen in real life?? It happens far too often here, friend, as des peope coming on and defending these nutbags.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

A lot was said in the article, actually

Where in the article did it say that he would walk away free since he is a minor?

he'll probably not be tried as an adult, which in turn means the maximum time he can spend in a reformatory for "just wanting to kill someone" and doing it is a few months. Then he's free. And you're saying this doesn't happen in real life??

No, that's not what I said doesn't happen in real life.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

@ Strangerland

Let us know when you're done berating Japan

There you go yet again, putting words in my mouth and then attacking them. I'm not berating Japan, just its justice system, which lets murderers go free because they haven't reached the age of 20.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

There you go yet again, putting words in my mouth and then attacking them. I'm not berating Japan, just its justice system

Really? let's review what you said:

Japan needs to update its justice system.

Not 'the Japanese justice system needs to update itself', 'Japan' needs to update it's justice system. I didn't need to put words in your mouth, you used the very words yourself.

which lets murderers go free because they haven't reached the age of 20.

Supporting evidence please. I've never heard of a murderer in Japan being let free because they are minors.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Are they just not educated enough to give an appropriate reason or do they really wanna kill someone and didnt matter who? If the later is the case, then just kill yourself!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Strangerland

If you knew the Japanese justice system, as many of the people above do, just from reading articles about crimes committed by minors, many of these "children" will either spend a couple of years in juvenile detention until they are at legal age and MAYBE spend another couple of years in an adult prison. But most likely, they will be released, or they will get a long suspended sentence. Either way, justice is not served, and a person will have lost their life to a person who will be allowed to walk in a few years time without as much as a blemish on their record, as if nothing had ever happened.

Any who can callously take a person's life in such a violent way, isn't fit to be back out in society. They are DANGEROUS, and should get 20 years or more AT LEAST, and then spend the rest of their lives being closely monitored if at all.

I am glad to see that magazines like Shukan Shincho are doing away with this "cannot be named because they are a minor" nonsense, and doing some REAL journalism by publishing names and pictures. I hope that they do the same here as well.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

If you knew the Japanese justice system, as many of the people above do, just from reading articles about crimes committed by minors, many of these "children" will either spend a couple of years in juvenile detention until they are at legal age and MAYBE spend another couple of years in an adult prison. But most likely, they will be released, or they will get a long suspended sentence.

Time in jail is not the same as 'walking free', as was originally claimed.

As for minors receiving suspended sentences, if this is as prevalent as you say, it shouldn't be hard to come up with a number of examples.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Mirai HayashiAug. I do agree with you ..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tragic, to say the least. That the perpetrator will be tried as a minor and likely be given a slap on the wrist is an even greatet tragedy. But the greatest tragedy? A young life was snuffed out and her family left to try and pick up the pieces, all for sermingly nothing. Prayers for Ms. Konno's family s n that justice will be served...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As for minors receiving suspended sentences, if this is as prevalent as you say, it shouldn't be hard to come up with a number of examples.

Well, it's in fact difficult to come with a big list of examples and pretending that they could easily come up with a number of examples is a little bit dishonest. There are quite numerous juvenile crimes in Japan, and it's impossible to follow them and really know what happened for each case and how those minors were treated after their crimes.

However we do have a reference for judgement and it's the Kobe case in 1997 where a 14-year old boy killed two children and injured three others in brutal attacks that left one of the victim decapitated. This boy then spent seven years in a medical reformatory for juveniles and was released in 2004. Today this is a free man who tries to sell a book recalling his murders. Seven years is nothing in regards to what he did, moreover in medical reformatory. So you would be quite dishonest to argue that this isn't a suspended case and that Japan justice system is broken. If it can't condemn properly such a murder, how could it possibly do for other juvenile crimes?

I am sure that someone else can find other examples, but I guess you get the idea.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

pretending that they could easily come up with a number of examples is a little bit dishonest. There are quite numerous juvenile crimes in Japan, and it's impossible to follow them and really know what happened for each case and how those minors were treated after their crimes.

But that's not what was claimed was it:

If you knew the Japanese justice system, as many of the people above do, just from reading articles about crimes committed by minors

So you're calling me dishonest for 'pretending' that they could easily come up with a number of articles, even though I was responding to their comment that they have read a bunch of articles. How exactly is that dishonest?

There are quite numerous juvenile crimes in Japan, and it's impossible to follow them and really know what happened for each case and how those minors were treated after their crimes.

I agree, which is why I wonder how the conclusion was come to that minors committing murder and arson walk away free.

However we do have a reference for judgement and it's the Kobe case in 1997 where a 14-year old boy killed two children and injured three others in brutal attacks that left one of the victim decapitated. This boy then spent seven years in a medical reformatory for juveniles and was released in 2004. Today this is a free man who tries to sell a book recalling his murders. Seven years is nothing in regards to what he did

But it most definitely is not 'walking away free' as was claimed.

So you would be quite dishonest to argue that this isn't a suspended case

What? Do you know what a suspended sentence is? Here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/suspended+sentence?r=75&src=ref&ch=dic

This most definitely was not a suspended sentence, and claiming it's not is not at all dishonest, it's speaking to the facts.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

just wanted to kill someone and didn’t matter who it was.

Is it something in the water? In these JT posts, why do some suspects usuall make the same statement? Either this or the "I was stressed out" card.

@ least try him as an adult. Even if he is "a monor" who cannot be named / shamed.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

we do have a reference for judgement and it's the Kobe case in 1997 where a 14-year old boy killed two children

We could also reference the case of Takayuki Otsuki (or Fukuda) who was sentenced to death for a crime he committed in 1999 when he was 18 years old.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, it's in fact difficult to come with a big list of examples and pretending that they could easily come up with a number of examples is a little bit dishonest. There are quite numerous juvenile crimes in Japan, and it's impossible to follow them and really know what happened for each case and how those minors were treated after their crimes.

Fortunately, there are.

http://www.geocities.jp/masakari5910/satsujinjiken_boy.html

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

the news just said shounen and did those weird voice-overs in a deep voice. Graduated highschool and working though, so its a shame despite this he will be treated as a kid and let off the hook.

Japanese news reports are so annoying, using "those weird (alvin & chipmunks) voice-overs". The Media here really needs some growing up to do.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

why do some suspects usuall make the same statement

Good question. These are police statements of what the suspect said, and with no indication of the context or the circumstances. In some countries (most?), that kind of statement would probably be considered prejudicial to a fair trial. I have an image of the police starting off the interview with a checklist of questions: Were you drunk? Were you angry and just wanted to kill someone? Were you stressed out? A yes to any of these and the police make their stock statements.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@albaleo. I forgot, this is Japan. Conformity, conformity and more authoritative conformity. (Honestly, no pun @u) These systematic investigative techniques and common japanese subservience to authorities = an almost 100% conviction rate.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If you knew the Japanese justice system, as many of the people above do, just from reading articles about crimes committed by minors, many of these "children" will either spend a couple of years in juvenile detention until they are at legal age and MAYBE spend another couple of years in an adult prison. But most likely, they will be released, or they will get a long suspended sentence. Either way, justice is not served, and a person will have lost their life to a person who will be allowed to walk in a few years time without as much as a blemish on their record, as if nothing had ever happened.

Oh that was funny. No, you don't know how the Japanese justice system operates just by reading articles on JT. That's a ridiculous statement. I called out on a few and they couldn't give me a straight forward answer so maybe you can answer it instead since you "know" the Japanese justice system. Is there a difference in the point system in Japan? If so, how is it different?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

But it most definitely is not 'walking away free' as was claimed.

So you think that after brutally killing two people, spending only 7 years in prison is just? What about the lives he's taken? What about the lives he's ruined? He WROTE a fricken book about this as if he was proud of what he did, and since there are some ignorant blood thirsty individuals out there who are into this kind of crap, he stands to make a lot of money from it. How is this NOT "walking away free"?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A quick wiki will tell you that the minimum age for capital punishment in Japan is 18, not 20. So this guy is certainly a candidate. Also, 9 juveniles have been sentenced to death in Japan since 1966. Logic/reason tells me that if 9 minors have been sentenced to death, there have been more that received lighter sentences, but not "walking free" or "without as much as a blemish on their record" like some of you say.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yumster100

No, you don't know how the Japanese justice system operates just by reading articles on JT. That's a ridiculous statement. I called out on a few and they couldn't give me a straight forward answer so maybe you can answer it instead since you "know" the Japanese justice system.

In fact I do. Perhaps you should read up a bit on current and past events. Google is your friend, but I will do you one better by providing a link to history of the Juvenile Law of 1948.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/23/national/social-issues/shifting-scales-juvenile-justice/#.VcFIwfn0ynk

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In fact I do. Perhaps you should read up a bit on current and past events. Google is your friend, but I will do you one better by providing a link to history of the Juvenile Law of 1948.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/23/national/social-issues/shifting-scales-juvenile-justice/#.VcFIwfn0ynk

Well you haven't answered my question and you should heed your advice by googling what I asked. By doing that though it just shows that you don't know the basics. Posting a link of an article regarding the need for reformation on Juvenile law doesn't mean you know about it nor does it mean you "know" how the Japanese justice system operates.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But it most definitely is not 'walking away free' as was claimed.

So you think that after brutally killing two people, spending only 7 years in prison is just?

As I said, it most definitely is not 'walking away free' as was claimed. I have made no comments whatsoever on whether 7 years was just.

How is this NOT "walking away free"?

Because he spent 7 years locked up. I'm not sure where you get the idea that being in custody for 7 years is being free. Do we have some different definition of what free means? To me, it means that someone is free to come and go as they want, and that boy was not able to do so for 7 years.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well you haven't answered my question and you should heed your advice by googling what I asked.

Well Sire, if you have such burning evidence that will prove how correct you are, why don't you post the link.

Posting a link of an article regarding the need for reformation on Juvenile law doesn't mean you know about it nor does it mean you "know" how the Japanese justice system operates.

Did you even read the article? It listed several incidents where minors were given very lenient sentences just because they were minors. No consideration for the victims or the brutality of the crime. It also gave statements by people in the justice department and their misplaced sympathy for the perpetrators: "oh...they were victims before they were murders"..."see the boy cried when realized the gravity of what he did"..."they should be reformed so that they can assimilate back into society" .

Its because of these backward thinkers, no justice is given in for the families...no sense of closure...they are haunted with a constant reminder that that their loved is GONE, and the person who took their life is living freely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hi Mirai,

I don't have burning evidence that I am correct since that is not my point. I have a problem when people who don't know anything about the criminal justice system comes on to this site and starts spouting things like "he will only receive x amount of years" or "suspended sentece" or whatever when they have no clue how the sentencing guideline works. In fact, any judge, prosecutor or criminal defense attorney would have known EXACTLY what I was talking about without having to google what the point system is. If you knew about it, then you could have taught me the difference since it seems the Japanese justice system is so different. Here's a link.

<>http://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/training/annual-national-training-seminar/2011/004c_Calc_Criminal_History_Outline.pdf

Also, I never stated that whatever sentence the youth was handed was correct. I did have a problem when people like you and others stated that it needs to be more harsher without actually understanding the basic concept of juvenile law. Rather, its more akin to a knee-jerk reaction with the sentence needing to be punitive, rather than rehabilitative, when it comes to juvenile law. Without taking into consideration regarding the points, then discussing the merits of the need to reform become quite moot in the legal sense (and especially so when one didn't even know how sentencing even works). Hence, I kept asking many whether the point system is different. Not one commentor was able to answer me on this.

Funny that you accuse me of whether I read the article or not when in that same article you linked, there was also this:

In almost all cases, Goto says, minors do not commit a violent crime out of the blue. They go through a period of abuse, become delinquent and often start committing minor misdemeanors before they ultimately end up harming someone.

“These minors were victims before becoming offenders,” Goto says. “There is so much that goes on leading up to the crime, but people only see the end result and condemn the minor for it.”

Sympathy goes a long way to explaining why the general public gets so enraged about juvenile crime, especially where murder is involved.

It tends to sympathize with the victims’ families, knowing that the killer was a minor who would eventually be freed because of his age.

Goto says a victim’s pain is only something that they can comprehend and it is natural for him or her to seek harsher punishment.

However, she says, this does not mean that the general public can do the same — they are part of the society that has created these juvenile offenders.

“Sympathy and empathy are two different things. By sympathizing, the general public is trying to identify itself with the victims,” Goto says. “The government and society, however, are responsible for both sides because we created an environment that turned them into victims and offenders.”

These quotes are really telling. Commentors that only read an article of the crime cannnot seek the youth for harsher penalties without knowing the full merits of the case. That's common sense and believing otherwise is just plain ridiculous because you don't know the full facts. What's worse is when you said you "KNOW" how the Japanese justice system works by reading articles. That again is beyond ridiculous.

For every one article you read, there are hundreds of juveniles that are sentenced. Here's an example, If this youth in the article received X amount of years for this crime. Ten other youths with similar crimes received might receive Y amount of years which is greater than X. The problem was that those 10 youths were not reported in JT or Japan Times. Then you have a false impression that youths will only receive X amount of years because that was reported in the article while completely oblivious to the fact that 10 other youths received a harsher Y amount of times since it was not reported. Furthermore, without the knowledge of the sentencing structure (including previous criminal history, etc), your reasoning is completely flawed. That is why I called you out when you posted this:

If you knew the Japanese justice system, as many of the people above do, just from reading articles about crimes committed by minors, many of these "children" will either spend a couple of years in juvenile detention until they are at legal age and MAYBE spend another couple of years in an adult prison. But most likely, they will be released, or they will get a long suspended sentence. Either way, justice is not served, and a person will have lost their life to a person who will be allowed to walk in a few years time without as much as a blemish on their record, as if nothing had ever happened.

Now, if you were a grad student writing your thesis on the Japanese justice system, then our debate would have been great. I would learn so much during our discussion. But, since your knowledge comes from reading articles, then it would be pointless to discuss.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Excellent post Yumster. I may save the link and refer people to it in the future. It says what I've tried to say so many times, much better the I've been able to say it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Thanks Strangerland,

This might be a better link since it is much easier to understand. Either way, this is the basic concept of a sentencing guideline that those commentors never knew it existed.

http://www.federalcharges.com/what-are-federal-sentencing-guidelines/

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Hey Einstein, i mean Yumster, did you just go out talking all of this mabo yambo then providing the links of the US justices system and somehow try to compare to the Japanese one?

Dam you good!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@true,

Why yes, I was asking how different the Japanese criminal justice system is to the US since many posters were implying that the defendants would never let off so easily if it wasn't in Japan. Naturally, I wanted to see how/what makes it so different between the two legal systems.

I guess if you don't graduate high school, anyone with a degree sounds like an Einstein, huh?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe this guy can use the case of the woman who killed her 2 kids and got off as justification for him not getting punished either. Seems that things like injuring someone with your bicycle is more serious than murder in this country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't know why you lot are arguing. Everyone knows the Japanese justice system is a joke. I'm from the UK and I thought we had too soft a touch but when I started paying attention to the news and goings on in Japan I couldn't believe what I was reading. Clearly Japan has a problem with serious juvenile crime. Why? I have no idea but some of the things I've read are truly shocking. Even taking into account what the above people have said in their very very long responses i.e. mitigating circumstances that determine what sort of sentence is given to an offender, everyone seems to get off lightly. Does it really matter if an offender has been on the receiving end themselves of horrible treatment? Is that an excuse for whatever terrible things they've done? Bad things happen to plenty of people and they go on to lead normal well behaved lives. EVERYONE knows that killing people is bad, if you need to be told this then you should indeed be locked away for a very long time as you're too much of a risk to be allowed to remain in society. Rehabilitation of young offenders who commit very serious crimes is a myth. If a person is committing crimes this heinous at such a young age there is no hope for them when they're older. A case that always come to mind from the UK is that of James Bulger who was tortured and murdered by 2 very young boys. They served 8 years and when released went onto to commit further crimes. These are the type of people who are born bad and there is no hope for them. Its time people started recognising this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He just wanted to kill someone and didnt care who. This is a national epidemic in Japan! How did japan turn out this way?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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