crime

Death sentence upheld for man convicted of killing 7 in Akihabara

29 Comments

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the death sentence for a man convicted of murdering seven people in a rampage at Tokyo's Akihabara district in 2008.

On June 8, 2008, Tomohiro Kato drove a truck into a pedestrian zone, killing three people. He then got out of the truck and went on a stabbing rampage, killing four. Another 10 people were injured.

Kato was sentenced to death by the Tokyo District Court in 2011. At the initial sentencing, presiding judge Hiroaki Murayama said the killing spree was "a brutal crime that did not indicate a shred of humanity on the part of the defendant," adding the death penalty was the only suitable punishment.

However, his lawyers appealed on the basis that Kato was delusional. But the Tokyo High Court upheld the death sentence in 2012. Lawyers then filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.

In Monday's ruling, the presiding justice said there were no extenuating circumstances and that the impact of the crime on society had been significant, NHK reported.

During his trial, Kato testified that he decided several days before to stage the attack. ''I got tired of my life. I've visited Akihabara several times. I know that there are many people there,'' he told the court.

Kato rented a truck the day before his rampage. He also posted a series of messages on a mobile phone bulletin board, warning what he was about to do.

In one of the court hearings, Kato said he had committed his crime because he had been the target of online bullying.

"I wanted people to know that I seriously wanted to stop the harassment on the Internet bulletin board that I used," he said, according to Japanese media.

For a time after the attack, Akihabara's so-called Pedestrian Paradise, which had been closed off to traffic, was discontinued while authorities debated how to avoid future random attacks on shoppers.

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29 Comments
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the impact of the crime on society had been significant

agreed, good judgement.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Giving the death penalty to someone who set out to kill people so he could get the death penalty because he was, "tired of his life". I thought the death penalty was supposed to be a deterrent?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I thought the death penalty was supposed to be a deterrent?

Yeah, good luck with that...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I respect the Japanese Supreme Court for not rejecting the noose.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Nearly all perps who are given the death penalty are wanting to die. The authorities are doing them a favor by putting them on the death list. I reckon they should keep them alive in a 2m square cell and make them live the rest of their lives in darkness and misery.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

This guy wanted suicide by cop or noose, he is getting what HE wanted in the long run. I say DONT kill the dude and let him rot in jail for 50 or 60 years. THAT would be a punishment, besides that, all killing him here does is exact revenge on the man.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

why did this even need to go to the supreme court? what a waste of time and money. when someone is so obviously guilty, just mete out the punishment asap.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

May his victims rest in peace

3 ( +5 / -2 )

One of Kato's main reasons for murdering people was that he would never get a girlfriend because he felt he was ugly and called ugly (busaiku) online. It was when he was called "busaiku" that he lost the plot. And yet, the only ugly thing about him, as far as I am aware, is that he was going bald at a young age.http://shocker.matrix.jp/999/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/kato_tomohito4.jpg http://shocker.matrix.jp/999/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/kato_tomohiro1.jpg I would prefer to have hair, especially in Japan weave manufacturers encourages people to worry about being bald, and for the general public to view baldness as a general loss of vigor, or a disease, and even more ugly than imho it is. In a country where visual appearance is considered to express essence, at least more than words, greater attention should perhaps be paid to how human appearance may be marginalized and stigmatized.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

timtak; there is never a good reason to kill someone except in self defense.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

ZvonkoFeb. 03, 2015 - 10:15AM JST

timtak; there is never a good reason to kill someone except in self defense.

Never say never. If what you say is true, why is it OK to kill a convicted murderer, when life confinement is also an option?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

rickeyvee

just mete out the punishment asap

In his case, I think a quick death is too kind.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

BuBuBuFeb. 03, 2015 - 07:25AM JST I thought the death penalty was supposed to be a deterrent?

It depends what you mean by "deterrent". It certainly deters the murderer from ever murdering again. As for deterring other murderers... this is the problem with sociopaths and psychopaths, they either don't think they'll be caught or don't care, so that was never a valid line of logic.

The simple question you need to ask about the death penalty is, "Is this person likely to reform?". If yes, then stick them in prison, give them counseling/meds/surgery/time to think and hopefully they'll come out the other end as a reformed individual. If no, then string them up, because they're just a continuing danger to society and need to be permanently removed.

ReformedBasherFeb. 03, 2015 - 10:27AM JST In his case, I think a quick death is too kind.

And I think it has been way too slow. This should have been a 1 day trial followed by a bullet to the back of the head. There were a mass of witnesses, there was no doubt about the accused's identity and he was caught red-handed.

This hugely long trial, the appeals and the waiting have cost the taxpayers a fortune for someone who has proven themselves incapable of living in society.

I'm not concerned about kindness to this individual. I am concerned about the cost to the taxpayers. In this sort of open and shut case he should have been swinging in the breeze 6 years ago.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Suicide by court. Exactly what the killer wants.

When people support this, one has to wonder if they have ulterior motives. Perhaps they like to lean back, close their eyes, and fantasize that they are the ones throwing the switch on the guy's trap door? Perhaps they think his crimes justify indulgence of their fantasies, an indulgence they would otherwise not allow themselves for its sick and criminal nature?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

timtak; there is never a good reason to kill someone except in self defense. i think I agree (and disagree with the death penalty). 

But in the same way that some advocate greater equality as a means to reduction in violence http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resources/spirit-level/violence Perhaps something could be done to address marginalization and stigmatization. I am not sure what exactly. I am not suggesting that the Japanese become Westernize themselves to believe that "mere appearance" does not matter. One approach might be to go the whole hog and define baldness as a disease and allow people to get weaves on prescription, which might have prevented this tragedy http://livedoor.blogimg.jp/joshisokuho/imgs/d/5/d573314c.jpg. Another way might be to promote the chonmage again, such as for all civil servants. It was the Japanese answer to baldness (make everyone bald) in the past. https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=chonmage&hl=en&tbm=isch&tbo

That's interesting ! I have heard just the "opposite"... Yes. Here's to the testosterone. But if one watches enough adverts like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_VlG1sP6Yw a large of people will associate baldness with a complete loss of self-esteem. Indeed, I know people who have thought their baldness to be the bane of their lives, claiming that it prevents them from gaining employment, which may well be true. http://articleimage.nicoblomaga.jp/image/64/2014/e/5/e51a033614a980a1523d6d40c9b550292bbeb56c1390966651.jpg

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For a time after the attack, Akihabara’s so-called Pedestrian Paradise, which had been closed off to traffic, was discontinued while authorities debated how to avoid future random attacks on shoppers.

Since the so-called Pedestrian Paradise was reopened what was improved or done to avoid future random attacks on shoppers? I have been many times before and since, weekends /weekdays and have noticed no apparent changes! Fact is the attack could have been done at the same time any day of the week and the consequences would be about the same!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"How to avoid future random attacks on shoppers."

Answer - don't shop.

If some nutcase decides he is going to do something, how on earth can they be stopped? On shoppers? On commuters? On elementary school kids? They will do something somewhere.

These kinds of people, like Mamoru Takuma and Tomomhiro Kato and far too many others, had a long history of violence and mental problems. Instead of denying innocent citizens (and potential victims) their rights of movement etc., improve the services that identify and deal with these nuts before either kill or maim. To do that, the social stigma of a family member with a mental illness must be addressed.

This will take time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why is everyone under the impression that this guy WANTS to die? Surely if that were true, they wouldn't keep appealing the death penalty?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hang this monster. The world doesn't need him to exist and keeping him alive just to spite him is a waste of whatever little resources and money it'd cost.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

how old is this monster?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

He is now 32 years old. I think he was 25 at the time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It was premeditated and his life should end as abruptly as those he ended. Letting him live until he dies of natural causes is just a drain on the economy.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How soon to the big event?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Lynchings and public executions have often been seen as "events" and one of the first causes for tourism. It is not how I see them. It can take decades before a death row inmate is executed, as in the recent cases where an inmate was acquitted after 30 or 40 years on death row. That was probably because that inmate always claimed his innocence and the evidence against him was not strong. In cases like this where guilt is cut and dried and there are grieving relatives who want to get closure in a permanent way, it is likely to be within the next 2 to 5 years, as was the case with the man who knifed infant school children likewise with the reported intention of committing suicide by state hanging.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Should be within the week, given that the Supreme Court has upheld it.

Failure on the part of the legislature, to not mandate that.

What use to keep him around "the next 2 to 5 years"?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Since the so-called Pedestrian Paradise was reopened what was improved or done to avoid future random attacks on shoppers? I have been many times before and since, weekends /weekdays and have noticed no apparent changes! Fact is the attack could have been done at the same time any day of the week and the consequences would be about the same!

What would you suggest? Assign everyone in Japan a bodyguard? Metal detectors at every public place? (Not that they are 100% effective)

I'm sure we'd all be fascinated to hear your ideas on how to make the entire country safe for everybody, 24 hours a day.

What use to keep him around "the next 2 to 5 years"?

If anything, give him hard labour. Pretty sure he could be put to good use at Fukushima.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yes, I would be interested to hear ideas on improved public safety and protection from random attacks. Ridicule and sneering responses to anyone's thoughts on this serious matter...are unwelcome and completely out of place. Perhaps there might be some kind of instant warning/alarm systems installed, since violence of this kind appears to be considerably more common now, than it has been in the past. Certainly in other big cities, around the world including London ... I can think of two street 'beheadings' and a couple of horrific attacks by fire or other barbaric violence, that passers by felt unable to intervene or prevent. There have been installations to assist in health emergencies, eg defibrillators ..why not instant 'street violence alarms' etcetc...? Plus...education in how to manage out breaks of violence in ways least likely to result in personal harm. If someone went berserk with a knife..anywhere near YOU...what would you do about it? My first thought might be to pick up the nearest, most substantial self defence 'weapon' I could see...maybe a metal cafe chair, on the pavement, or a hefty p!ant pot...perhaps a bike or a table....something to throw at or strike the person intent on doing harm.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My first thought might be to pick up the nearest, most substantial self defence 'weapon' I could see...maybe a metal cafe chair, on the pavement, or a hefty p!ant pot...perhaps a bike or a table....something to throw at or strike the person intent on doing harm.

I think my first thought would be to run like hell.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I was thinking about a situation where I might be confronted with children and others, under attack... probably you and I and anyone...might look around for a way to protect those being harmed?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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