Police extend reward period for info on 1996 murder of student


The National Police Agency on Wednesday extended the reward period by one year for information that will help solve the 1996 murder of a 21-year-old woman.

Junko Kobayashi, a Sophia University student, was bound and stabbed to death inside her house which was then torched, in Katsushika Ward on Sept 9, 1996. Police have questioned more than 75,000 people and followed up on over 1,100 leads but have yet to come close to identifying a suspect or suspects.

In 2018, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police department posted on its website a video with a 3D recreation of the crime scene showing the presence of a suspicious man.

The 90-second video was created based on eyewitness accounts and photographic evidence of the crime. The murder is believed to have taken place at around 3.55 p.m. Around this time, a man in an ocher-colored raincoat is seen standing outside Kobayashi’s home in the rain without an umbrella, staring up at the second floor.

In addition, type A blood was found in DNA at the crime scene, which police believe came from a hand or arm injury sustained by the murderer.

Police have offered a 3 million yen reward for information leading to an arrest. The family of the victim has also offered a further 5 million yen.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Kameari police station at 03-3607-9051.

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Isn't the statute of limitations for murder 20 years? Or has it changed?

2 ( +2 / -0 )


the statute of limitation has apparently been abolished for murder. Makes sense, as although circumstantial evidence and witness memories, etc, can become weaker over time, DNA evidence can still find a match beyond reasonable doubt decades later. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though they have DNA evidence in this case. Although it would be worth getting labs to go over all physical evidence again, as new techniques can find DNA evidence on samples, where older techniques could not. Even if the match they find is to a person who has already died, it may bring some closure at least to the family.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

All this is likely to do is generate calls from people attempting to collect the reward.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

My job is in criminal forensics. And I can tell you, this ship has sailed! Whatever DNA they found at the scene is totally irrelevant at the moment because too much time has passed. If they have the DNA, questioned more than 75,000 people and followed up on over 1,100 leads and 20 years later they can't find the culprit, they missed their opportunity because everything has a shelf life. Over 20 years frozen, blood cells can give very unreliable results. It also depends on the type, amount and way the blood in a burnt house was collected. But credit for hope!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sir Bentley,

if they determined it was Type A blood "found in DNA", weren't they capable of getting at least a basic DNA printout at the time? It was 1996, not 1976.

It sounds more like they have the DNA sample, they just haven't been able to find a suspect to be able to get a confirmatory DNA match. Do they not have any national criminal DNA database here, one where every convict and arrestee has their DNA swabbed and recorded?


1 ( +1 / -0 )

People watch too many crime dramas. There is no DNA database of every single person's DNA on file. The only way to match the police DNA is if they had the murderer's DNA on file (eg he committed another crime and they had his DNA from that), same goes for fingerprints, you can have fingerprints gathered at a crime scene, but it won't do you any good unless you have a match entered into a database. Now in the future if a suspect were to be arrested they would have some DNA to work with to match.

Cold cases can pass decades before being solved, someone says something, someone hears something, some kid remembers something when they got older, someone does another crime leaving evidence that matches, someone is on their deathbed and finally confesses are many reasons why cold cases can get solved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sal Affist

Please focus on my point that it also depends on the type of type (hair with roots, skin from under her fingernails, blood swab on a cotton, semen) amount and the way it was collected. Since the DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ) started storing criminal DNA in 1986, 10 years before this crime, they were still in their amateur stages of properly storing/testing useful DNA for future purposes. And in Japan, the use of DNA to solve a case was/is not really practiced when it came to sentencing. Thus, little care was put in place. I know this because I see these practices on an hourly basis.


I don't like crime dramas because they portray SUCH A FALSE image of criminal forensics. I know that this person probably committed this crime on a first go (because he tried to cover his tracks. Telltale signs), so they had no record of his fingerprints, DNA or photos in their database. You are right too! Cold cases can get solved! I've helped with crime cases from WAY before I was even born and brought closure. But this case........have my doubts!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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