crime

Charges dropped against 29-year-old woman arrested for killing 2 young daughters

73 Comments

The Yokohama District Court has announced that charges have been dropped against a 29-year-old woman who was arrested in February for killing her two young daughters at their home in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture.

In announcing the decision by prosecutors not to proceed with their case, the presiding judge said the woman would not stand trial, but gave no reason for the decision, Fuji TV reported Wednesday.

The woman, Natsumi Yamamoto, was arrested after she called police to say she had killed her daughters Kaho, 6, and Saki, 3, in their apartment. Yamamoto was quoted by police as saying she had strangled both her children with her bare hands. The suspect had been living with her two children and her husband who was still at work at the time of the incident.

Police said Yamamoto told them she felt anxious about the future, saying she couldn't cope with raising the children and doing housework.

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73 Comments
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What? Judge equally insane?

22 ( +25 / -4 )

Charges dropped against 29-year-old woman arrested for killing 2 young daughters

I'm speechless.....

...the presiding judge said the woman would not stand trial, but gave no reason for the decision...

That's crazy!

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Why, because she cried in front of the judge? What about the tears those two angels shed as they stared into the eyes of the one they loved and trusted the most, as she choked the life out of them. I hope they haunt her for the rest of her days.

9 ( +11 / -3 )

Absolutely unbelievable....another murderer goes free....

8 ( +11 / -3 )

If there was ever a reason to remove a judge from the bench, here is one now. There has to more to this decision.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

What the ....??? Why not, if there is one person I really don't want close to any child ever, that is that person!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

A large brown paper bag full of 10000 yen notes perhaps? Oh the sweet stench of corruption here.

6 ( +11 / -6 )

@Haaa Nemui is absolutely right. While the court announced the dropping of the charges, this does not mean that the judge actually dropped the charges. So, while it seems unbelievable that the charges against this woman have been dropped, one should not automatically blame the judge. It more likely has something to do with the police and prosecutors. However, there is not enough information here to determine that. I have tried to find more information on Japanese sites, but have not managed to do so. There is clearly more to this matter than is contained in this story.

With all of that said, I still find the underlying crime despicable and depraved. If there is anyone children should not be afraid of and should be able to depend upon for love and protection, it is their parents. Sadly, too often that is not the case. This woman needs to be held accountable for what she did to her poor, innocent children.

6 ( +5 / -0 )

Worst judge! How this judge became a judge where he/she does not know how to decide simple obvious crimes. Maybe killing is not a crime to this judge. It is "when the price is right".

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Crystal Ball time.

Quote from Judge when she kills someone else's kid next year

"It.....it is regrettable" (bows) case closed

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Hang on everyone... a judge can not drop charges... a judge can throw a case out. The two scenarios are quite different. If the charges were actually dropped then everyone needs to stop blaming the judge.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm feeling a bit anxious about he future too. Exactly how much can I get away with?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

unless japan operates on a totally different legal system, a judge can not drop charges. he/she can dismiss a case. it's up to the prosecutor to decide.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Don't blame the judge. The decision to drop charges was made by the Yokohama District Public Prosecutors Office (Odawara Branch).

http://www.news24.jp/articles/2015/08/03/07306002.html

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Even a passing familiarity with the Japanese legal system would reveal that this is obviously not a case of some prosecutor just randomly deciding to not press charges in what appears to be a cut-and-dry case of murder, particularly one with a confession.

The most likely thing that happened here is that the prosecutor's office found the woman to be clinically insane and therefore incapable of answering to the charges being leveled against her.

Which is an infinitely more plausible reason for the charges being dropped than corruption, bribery, a sudden, brilliant burst of judicial incompetence, or (my personal favorite) the judge being insane as well -- all passing under the radar of the Ministry of Justice (despite being widely reported in major Japanese dailies).

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What!!! Are you frikken kidding me?! Murder your two children and nothing happens to you?! WTF is wrong with this picture?! Let me "berate" the Japanese justice system again, there is something seriously wrong with it when it treats children as if they were property instead of human beings.

3 ( +6 / -4 )

In announcing the decision, the presiding judge said the woman would not stand trial, but gave no reason for the decision, Fuji TV reported Wednesday.

That's it? Does she just go free now?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

can't deal with kids raising children and house cleaning????

hey....here's a thought......

dont get married and have kids then!

if this was usa, she would have done hard time. the judge needs to be put away as well. wtf japan?

rest in peace, little ones.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

afanofjapan - there are scientific methods for probing for insanity. Just for your entertainment:

http://penddraig.co.uk/online-tests/the-insanity-test/

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Okay, show us where a woman confesses to killing her own children and the case is dropped.

The case wasn't dropped, the charges were. Although she wont stand trial for the charges that isn't to say she won't be held under some form of supervision if she was deemed mentally unfit. That said, it's not about a case being dropped, it's about poor judicial decisions, of which there are many all around the world. If anybody is saying they want out of Japan because of this then they might as well be saying they want off the planet. It's just Japan bashing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Money talks!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

OMG. I cannot believe this. Really that should be referred to the International Tribunal for Human Rights because it is government sanctioned/condoned abuse/murder of children. Its abhorrent and disgusting. I am totally appalled and overcome with revulsion.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

...it seems they are going for not prosecuting because she's crazy (insanity defense, effectively).*

Thank you for posting this Kazuaki.

A very disturbing thing about this is that the woman is likely to spend a relatively short amount of time in a mental institution, only to be let out as soon as she has been 'cured' of her insanity.

One of the most notorious precedents in this regard is that of the 'Paris Cannibal' Issei Sagawa, who murdered/ate a Dutch woman only to be declared insane. He was ultimately let out of a Japanese mental institution after a very short amount of time, and went on to make TV appearances and hang out in Roppongi. He still reportedly lives somewhere in the greater Tokyo area. Obviously, the insanity defense has been abused for far too long, and needs to come under much greater scrutiny. http://www.japantoday.com/category/kuchikomi/view/paris-cannibal-sagawa-reminisces-over-his-grisly-crime

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Police said Yamamoto told them she felt anxious about the future, saying she couldn’t cope with raising the children and doing housework."

I better warn my wife to hide my hammer because I have to take the car in for an oil change and I'm kind of nervous about it....stressed out, really...

This country has more of its fair share of wingnuts.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Only in Japan! A woman kills her babies? No problem!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Children's lives not worth a damn in this country. Unbelievably sad and unjust Some years ago here in Japan, a stone's throw from my house, a woman killed her 3 year old foster child. I think she was scolded and had her library card revoked. Disgusting justice.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The sort that doesn't want to waste state money if there is no hope of a conviction, and other avenues to reach the desired result.

Exactly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

She's obviously not fit to stand trial, and due to this being, with a probability of 99.9% a medial issue, it is illegal for the presiding judge to make any further comments.

What's the outrage, and why is this even news? Not everyone killing someone else can or should be judged, I'm amazed so many a wise commenters here expected otherwise, but then I remembered this is the JT forum... The mother will spend many years in various institutions.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

One of the most notorious precedents in this regard is that of the 'Paris Cannibal' Issei Sagawa, who murdered/ate a Dutch woman only to be declared insane. He was ultimately let out of a Japanese mental institution after a very short amount of time, and went on to make TV appearances and hang out in Roppongi. He still reportedly lives somewhere in the greater Tokyo area.

Absolutely, this case was an incredible precedent in what came to show big and clear the Japanese justice system flaws and particularly in what it can't properly judge/deal (with) insane people.

Now the case of Sagawa is astonishing. Not only he brutally murdered and ate a young Dutch women, he also raped her after killing and starting to eat her besides also keeping some peaces of her body in his fridge. The totally bizarre nature of his crime and the fact he didn't really try to hide it, he took a taxi with two suitcases full of his victim's parts and asked to be driven to a park where he wanted to leave the cases in the view of many people present inside the park, really troubled the french police and that's why the french judge declared that he was insane and couldn't be judged in France.

This was arguably a mistake, but he took this decision believing that the Japanese authorities will properly deal with him. It wasn't the case at all, he was put in a mental institution for two years and then declared that actually he wasn't insane. Having decided that he wasn't insane should have brought him back in front of a judge (since then he should have been judged and punished for his crime), but he was left free (presumably his influential father had something to do with this). French police were notified about the situation and the parents of the victim too. You can imagine how astonished they felt, nobody understood what was going on. And things turned even worse after he was left free as Sagawa wrote books about his crimes that people were buying in mass (with zero respect to the victim and her family), he went on TV, he was an actor in some bizarre porn movies, etc.

At that time, Japan basically showed to the rest of the industrialized world that its justice system is a joke and continues to do so today.

The sort that doesn't want to waste state money if there is no hope of a conviction, and other avenues to reach the desired result.

Do you realize that what you wrote above makes no sense at all. How can you know that there is no hope for conviction without a serious trial? You are trying again to defend what can't be. This is what state money should be used for in fact. You know, to make sure that there is justice.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Why are judges so above the law that they don't have to give reasons for their decisions. Why aren't they made to front the media and answer the barrage of questions I'm sure dumbfounded people have at the ludicrous decision nade?

Again... wasn't the judges decision... why do people not understand that?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Cases get dropped when there is a gross lack of evidence that the person even committed the crime, NOT when the prosecutor doesn't think he/she can get a conviction. That would be pure incompetence.

Do you not see the contradiction in what you are saying here? Who do you think determines that there is a gross lack of evidence? I'll give you a hint, it starts with 'pros' and ends with 'ecutors'.

Yes you are ...once again, you chose to sympathize with the perpetrator and not the victim.

I haven't stated where my sympathies lie whatsoever, much less in one direction versus the other. I've simply pointed out facts. Facts do not equal sympathies. I just don't react hysterically to news stories, I'm willing to look at the big picture, and not just react with desire for punitive action no matter what in order to fuel my revenge fantasies.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sorry I want OUT. We dont want Japan anymore.

Are they making you stay? Are you incarcerated?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Just to clarify, that's sarcasm, right?

Yeah... it was though it might have been a bit of a lame attempt. For the record... I agree with everything you have said here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@strangerland,

Hope this helps...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competence_(law)

Too tired to write an explanation but I do enjoy reading the comments. I admit that it can be frustrating as well lol

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Actually, Mirai is correct that you often defend the perpetrator,

Please spare us, Smith! As the biggest presenter of unsubstantiated opinion on this forum, your undefined idea of "defending the perpetrator" makes me shudder.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

She called the police to tell them she killed her daughters but the judge gave NO REASON to drop the case. This is complete crap, can someone please excuse that judge or investigate?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It seems weird that they would not still prosecute with the intention of getting her committed to a facility, though maybe that's just my lack of understanding on how one gets committed to a facility in Japan.

As for the 'short time she will likely serve', those who are insane don't serve a sentence, they get treatment. The goal isn't punitive, because the person hasn't done anything that deserves punishment. They literally don't know the difference between right and wrong when they do the crime for which they are accused. So the goal isn't to keep them in an institution to punish them, it's to put them into an institution so that they can be fixed, so they will be able to understand the difference between right and wrong and never do it again.

Some of you will condemn on the details in this story. "She said that she was stressed about the future, so she must have been in her right mind". Consider this scenario, three days into interrogations:

Police: WHY DID YOU DO IT?

Lady: I don't know

Police: You were stressed out about the future, weren't you. You were worried that you wouldn't be able to take care of them properly, right?

Lady: Yeah, I guess so

The fact is, the prosecutors decided to drop the charges. They are the ones who want a conviction, more than anyone here. So if they have decided to drop the charges for some reason, it stands to reason that they have a pretty good reason.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

What kind of prosecutor drops charges before a trial???

The sort that doesn't want to waste state money if there is no hope of a conviction, and other avenues to reach the desired result.

I certainly hope she is put in some sort of institution for a very long time, and not just sent home.

I certainly hope she is put in some sort of institution for as long as it takes for her to be healed/fixed/rehabilitated, and not just sent home.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

i've read that it was the result of the psychiatric evaluation .. probably she was evaluated as "not capable" to take responsibility...

i always think that those who are mentally capable to take responsibility normally do not commit crimes like this.. all these murderes are not sane ...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

JT messing up two straight days in the crime section. Yesterday, it was the 19 year old "woman" fiasco.

Thanks, I was wondering where my post went. Didn't even get a "Notice of message removal‏".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe the prosecutors are to blame for this travesty of justice and to think how many innocent people prosecutors sentence to prison terms and even to death sentences. Scourge of society.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm sure she was stressed, and Id bet she was mentally ill. You'd have to be to kill your two kids. But, mentally ill does not equal insane. For the insanity plea to work (outside of Japan anyway) the person must not have known right from wrong when they committed the murders.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Question for those here who seem quite clued in on Japanese law: How does one manage to get themselves classified as clinically insane by prosecutors? I mean, if in almost all cases their entire case is based on an (often forced) confession, could this be a method that one might be able to use if falsely accused of a crime? Just start acting completely crazy and they drop the case?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What are you talking about? I'm simply pointing out how law works. Cases get dropped all the time due to the prosecutors lacking hope for conviction

Cases get dropped when there is a gross lack of evidence that the person even committed the crime, NOT when the prosecutor doesn't think he/she can get a conviction. That would be pure incompetence.

I'm not defending anything,

Yes you are ...once again, you chose to sympathize with the perpetrator and not the victim. At the very least, this person needs to go to trial and let the court decide her fate (whether it'd be conviction or acquittal, prison or mental institution). If she is mentally unfit, her lawyer needs to present evidence of that to the court and ask for dismissal. Its not the prosecutor nor the doctors place to determine her fate.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Rest in Peace to the poor innocent and defenceless children, with their whole futures ahead of them - snuffed out by a women supposed to be their protector.

If indeed the killer was insane, then she is dangerously insane and it is to be hoped she is locked away for many, many years so as not to harm any more innocent children.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What is going on in this country when people can kill children and walk away. Sorry I want OUT. We dont want Japan anymore.

Yep... this kind of thing ONLY EVER happens in Japan and never ever by any means does it happen in any other country in the world ever ever ever.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yep... this kind of thing ONLY EVER happens in Japan and never ever by any means does it happen in any other country in the world ever ever ever.

Just to clarify, that's sarcasm, right?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Haaa Nemui: "Yep... this kind of thing ONLY EVER happens in Japan and never ever by any means does it happen in any other country in the world ever ever ever."

Okay, show us where a woman confesses to killing her own children and the case is dropped.

Strangerland: "I haven't stated where my sympathies lie whatsoever, much less in one direction versus the other. "

Actually, Mirai is correct that you often defend the perpetrator, and I think this is the second time in two days you have when it's a woman (or child, if under 20), although you also defend men, as you did when the guy flew the Lufthansa (group) jet into the mountains and killed all those people a few months ago.

That said, you and others are correct in saying that the dropping of the charges rests with the prosecutor and should not be blamed on the judge.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Okay, show us where a woman confesses to killing her own children and the case is dropped.

It appears from this story (though isn't entirely clear), that a trial may not be required in order to have someone committed for murder. In other countries, a trial is required. So you wouldn't find examples in other countries where the case was just dropped, as a trial to determine insanity would happen in other countries, while in Japan that trial may not be necessary. If the killer ends up declared insane, and is locked up for treatment, the end result is the same, even if the path to get there is different.

Mirai is correct that you often defend the perpetrator

Show me quotes, and I'll point out where you have a lack of reading comprehension. I never defend anyone, I simply explain how culpability cannot be determined from a news article. That is not the same as defending a person, it is pointing out the lack of logic in condemning someone with a lack of evidence.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

U can kill your child in Japan and walk free from justice. She will be out smiling.She must be brought to justice.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No you cant u are not alone now. Japanese children. Japan welcome to the modern world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hope this helps people. It might not be exactly the same in Japan but something along the lines.

Competency to stand trial is generally determined via a pretrial evaluation of the defendant's overall mental status and mental state at the time of the examination. This evaluation aims to provide sufficient information to allow a judge to rule on the competency of the defendant should a motion to that effect be made by either the prosecutor or defense attorney. A judge may also directly rule a defendant incompetent to stand trial without receiving a motion to that effect from counsel.[8]

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To me this sounds like the woman had a brief psychotic episode brought on by crippling stress. At least Yumster100 has some sense. I significantly doubt she's emotionally capable of even basic functioning right now since killing her children certainly did not happen at a moment of total awareness and lucidity.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People are jumping to conclusions (possibly the correct ones).

She may be insane and unfit to stand trial. This does not mean that she will be released - people who kill need to be kept of the streets whether they are fit to stand trial or not.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

did not happen at a moment of total awareness and lucidity.

But she was not insane unless she didn't know that choking her children to death was wrong.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a messed up justice system. Whoever called the shots here, in dropping the charges needs to be investigated then fired.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Only in Japan.... Im speechless...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seeing how the cops only tend to convict people who confess, she likely changed her story once she was in the box, and held out long enough. With no confession and little evidence, maybe they didn't want to "bully" this "poor young" girl.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This could be for life in prison. It seems killing human was like killing animals, a very light sentence was like a 90 days go around the world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Everyone is responsible/answerable for their action, the mother of the children and the judge

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Unbelievable ... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Do you realize that what you wrote above makes no sense at all. How can you know that there is no hope for conviction without a serious trial?

That's what prosecutors do, and not just in Japan, but in all first world countries. Prosecution when there is no hope for conviction is persecution and is known as malicious persecution. Court cases are dropped all the time for lack of probably cause. And remember, the people who decide not to prosecute are the prosecutors - the very people who's job it is to prosecute. If they are the ones saying they have no hope of conviction, they can be believed as they want to prosecute as much as they can.

You are trying again to defend what can't be

What are you talking about? I'm simply pointing out how law works. Cases get dropped all the time due to the prosecutors lacking hope for conviction. I'm not defending anything, much less something that can't be. I'm pointing out existing facts.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

the charges were dropped because ..........?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No you cant u are not alone now. Japanese children. Japan welcome to the modern world.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I cannot believe this!!!! How many people are getting killed and getting no justice!!!!!? She kills 2 children and will not stand trial? Who else`s kids will she kill next time she feels stressed out? Maybe the husband? Hope she is at least locked up in a mental facility for life. There is no coming back from killing your 2 kids. This is sickening.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Change from 'Yokohama District Court' to ' Yokohama District Public Prosecutors' Office '

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is heartbreaking and disappointing. That apartment block is not too far from me and every time I drive past, I think of those two little girls. I hope this lady is tortured with thoughts of her girls every waking moment and in her dreams at night for the rest of her life.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What kind of prosecutor drops charges before a trial???

A trial is suppose to be the place where evidence is presented, and a judgement is made based on those evidence. If the woman is mentally ill, then let her lawyer present evidence to prove she was insane in court. And if the evidence clearly indicates that she is not in sound mind, hence she cannot continue the trial, then move to dismiss the case.

I certainly hope she is put in some sort of institution for a very long time, and not just sent home.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The woman, Natsumi Yamamoto, was arrested after she called police to say she had killed her daughters

okay...so she confessed to the crime

The Yokohama District Court has announced that charges have been dropped. The presiding judge said the woman would not stand trial, but gave no reason for the decision.

Well...after she had confessed and all.....I guess that makes alot of sense to someone who has no sense.

Why are judges so above the law that they don't have to give reasons for their decisions. Why aren't they made to front the media and answer the barrage of questions I'm sure dumbfounded people have at the ludicrous decision nade?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

smithinjapan:

Maybe she thought abortion was legal til age 16.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

She will likely be housed in a mental hospital for a good long time. Nobody wins. It wasnt murder. It was insanity overtaking sanity. Her girls are in a much better place now. Really.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What is going on in this country when people can kill children and walk away. Sorry I want OUT. We dont want Japan anymore.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Gave no reason just like the decisions about TPP. Seems to be a world problem.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

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