An 18-year-old youth admitted to police on Monday that he killed a 13-year-old boy whose naked body was found on the bank of the Tama River in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Feb 20.
The 18-year-old and two 17-year-old youths were arrested on Friday over the death of Ryota Uemura. While the 17-year-olds had admitted their involvement, the 18-year-old had so far refused to talk about the crime, insisting he was home at the time of the murder which took place at around 2 a.m.
However, his lawyer said Monday that the youth had started giving details to police, NTV reported. He said he killed Uemura with a box cutter that was found near the scene of the crime.
He said that he killed Uemura because he told others how he had been beaten for refusing to shoplift at the 18-year-old's instructions. Before killing Uemura, the 18-year-old said he also ordered him to swim naked in the river to punish him.
Uemura joined a gang whose members were aged from 12 to 20 last November. The 18-year-old was reportedly the leader. Uemura was seriously beaten in mid-January and was rarely seen at school after that.
Police have established from records on Line that one of the 17-year-old youths contacted Uemura on the night of Feb 19, telling him to come out and meet them. The three suspects were identified through street surveillance camera footage that showed them walking with Uemura toward the spot where he was murdered. Footage showed them walking back without Uemura.
The two 17-year-olds said they burned the victim's clothes and shoes in a public toilet about 800 meters from where the victim's body was found, on instructions from the gang leader.
One of them said he wanted to intervene when he saw Uemura lying on the ground bleeding, but that the 18-year-old threatened to kill him, too.
In other developments, NTV reported that one of the 17-year-old suspects posted comments on the messaging app Line the day after the murder in which he said "Why did this have to happen? I'm so sorry. It seems I am to blame."© Japan Today