crime

3 teen suspects in Kawasaki boy's murder may be tried as adults

20 Comments

Prosecutors at the Yokohama District Court will decide within the next week whether three minors -- arrested for the murder of a 13-year-old boy in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, in February -- will be tried as adults.

The latest development comes after the Yokohama Family Court decided on Tuesday to send the three suspects, two boys aged 18 and one boy aged 17, back to prosecutors, Fuji TV reported.

The three were arrested on suspicion of killing Ryota Uemura whose naked body was found on the bank of the Tama River in Kawasaki on Feb 20. One of the 18-year-old boys -- said to be the ringleader -- has told police he killed Uemura with a box cutter that was found near the scene of the crime, while the other two have pleaded not guilty to the murder.

The ringleader 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. Uemura was seriously beaten in mid-January and was rarely seen at school after that.

Police have established from records on Line that the 17-year-old youth 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 suspects burned the victim's clothes and shoes in a public toilet about 800 meters from where the victim's body was found.

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.

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20 Comments
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Bloody right, too. Regardless of what Japanese law may say, you are an adult at 18...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This ringleader thug needs to be locked away for a long long time and the only way to accomplish that is to try him as an adult. The other two accomplices should also be charged as adults. Wanting to intervene and actually intervening are two separate issues.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And we'll they should be. Planned murder.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Juvenile offenses in Japan are heard in a family court and they often get little more than probation or token sentences in juvenile reformatories. If the family court decides the crime is "atrocious" (serious), can grant a public prosecutor's request that the case be transferred to an adult court. An offender there would be liable to adult penalties that include long prison sentences and the death penalty.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wait... will or may be tried as adults?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

at minimun the ringleader should be tried as an adult. he is culpable for the murder. but the guy who tried to intervene shouldn't be, IMO. Can you really stop someone who has a knife and threatens to kill you?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

at minimun the ringleader should be tried as an adult. he is culpable for the murder. but the guy who tried to intervene shouldn't be, IMO. Can you really stop someone who has a knife and threatens to kill you?

I think the point is he could just be saying this under advice to get off lightly. The boy could have run off and called the cops / got help, for example.

Furthermore, coercion is generally only a partial defence.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

PLEASE do!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Do it! Punish these animals and send a message to the other punks out there that beatings and murder will be prosecuted. So sick of kids like these getting a slap on the wrist.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Qtestes: The article wrote "will be tried as adults."

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Anyone who commits murder need to be tried as adults.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's just wrong... Murder is an adult crime. Age means nothing there.

Also, if I may ask a question, does Japan have a right against self-incrimination? Because it seems like almost all of these stories involve the perpetrator confessing to their crimes. It might be a cultural thing too, but I'm just curious.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They should be tried as adults. They knew exactly what they were doing.

I find it interesting that these kids are referred to as "suspects" even though the ringleader has already confessed to killing the victim.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@toshiko: I am aware of this. The title wrote "may be tried as adults". Hence the confusion.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Qtestes: The article wrote "will be tried as adults."

Sorry but please reread the section you are referring to here....The court will decide within the next week whether the three minors ----will be tried as adults. For a non-native speaker of English it is easy to get confused and misunderstand the following paragraph because the parts between the - and - are an explanation and would have been better written using commas rather then - and -.

So the court has not decided yet, it will within the week. The article is poorly written so it is easy to understand the misunderstanding.

Prosecutors at the Yokohama District Court will decide within the next week whether three minors—arrested for the murder of a 13-year-old boy in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, in February—will be tried as adults.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How can you try minors as adults? Just try them as the evil minors they are and give them heavy sentences.

"Regardless of what Japanese law may say, you are an adult at 18..."

In many cases even 21-year-olds are not adults...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wish they got harsh punishment ... not the usual suspended sentence

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Although I have often criticized the writing/translation on this site, I see no ambiguity in the use of the word "may" in the headline and the phrase "will decide within the next week whether" in this article. Seems crystal clear to me. This is an English language site, not necessarily an English language learners' site and I see no reason to dumb down the English for the sake of readers who are not fluent.

@Ms. Alexander "I find it interesting that these kids are referred to as "suspects" even though the ringleader has already confessed to killing the victim."

It's quite simple really. People are referred to as "the suspect", " the accused", or "the defendant" until they have been convicted in a court of law. Some people who may actually be innocent, or perhaps guilty of a crime different to the one they are accused of, may falsely confess under pressure, or to cover or protect someone else, etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tried as adults in Japan still means maybe only 5 years of jail.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At 17 and 18 they are totally in control of their actions and knew exactly what they were doing - premeditated murdered of a person. It is time Japan stopped puss footing around with this, particularly since at 18 you will be able to vote. If you can vote on a law, you can be tried by it. And at 17 you understand it. They are adults.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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