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Magazine publishes name, photo of Kawasaki murder suspect

32 Comments

Weekly magazine Shukan Shincho has taken the unusual step for the second straight month of publishing the name and photo of a minor arrested for murder.

In the March 5 issue, the magazine published the name and a photo of the 18-year-old youth suspected of murdering a 13-year-old boy in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Feb 20.

The suspect, as well as two 17-year-old boys under arrest, are minors under the Japanese Juvenile Law, which means media cannot identify suspects under 20 by name or publish their photos. However, their photos, names and even addresses have been circulating on social media for the past week.

Last month, Shukan Shincho also published the name, photos and other details of a 19-year-old girl accused of killing a 77-year-old woman with a hatchet in Nagoya.

On Thursday, Shukan Shincho released the same statement as it did last month, stating that the magazine published the suspect's name and photo because they felt it important that the public know about this particularly brutal case.

In recent years, there has been an increase in violent crimes committed by minors, leading many media commentators to debate the legal taboo over publishing their names.

NHK quoted a psychologist as saying that the privacy of juvenile suspects needs to be protected -- no matter how serious the alleged crime -- otherwise the rehabilitation process will be hampered.

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So, the government is planning to pass a bill to give 18 year olds the right to vote. If they do this, I think they should also make 18 the adult age and stop molly-coddling these late teen punks, so they can be tried as an adult and sent to a man's prison.

24 ( +27 / -3 )

NHK quoted a psychologist as saying that the privacy of juvenile suspects needs to be protected—no matter how serious the alleged crime—otherwise the rehabilitation process will be hampered.

? Does that mean that 20 year old suspects cannot be rehabilitated if their names are published too?

16 ( +17 / -1 )

I think they should also make 18 the adult age and stop molly-coddling these late teen punks, so they can be tried as an adult and sent to a man's prison.

They already can be tried as adults. Any suspect in a murder case from the age of 14 can be transfered from family courts to general courts.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'm all for lowering the age of criminal responsibility. However, my understanding is that the law is clear - they are simply not allowed to publish the names and pictures and until the law changes they shouldn't do it. These young people have been accused, not convicted of a crime and are entitled the whatever protection the law allows them. As for the psychologist, he's an idiot. They are accused of crimes and until they are convicted there is no rehabilitation necessary.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

slumdog: "? Does that mean that 20 year old suspects cannot be rehabilitated if their names are published too?"

Exactly! The whole argument is whether or not being slightly under the LEGAL status of adult means that the youths should not be treated/charged as adults for crimes they are clearly adult enough to have thought out and committed, so it's not like one special day that marks their 20th year is going to make any psychological difference in terms of whether or not they can be rehabilitated.

They CAN'T be, in fact -- not for crimes like this, nor should they deserve the chance. I don't like the Shunkan Weekly or similar gossip rags, nor do I like the fact that they penalties they incur for libel or breaking the law are peanuts compared to the sales (and many places have sold out of this issue, despite the raise in costs to 400 yen of late!), but I applaud them for printing the names and photos of these psychos. I kind of draw the line at bringing their families into it, and ancestral history and what not, but bravo for letting everyone know the names and faces of these scum. Hope any debate it stirs on the issue of making the names public of serious offenders also strengthens the resolve to try these murderers as adults.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

These young people have been accused, not convicted of a crime and are entitled the whatever protection the law allows them.

This is Japan, they have been arrested so there is 99% chance they will be found guilty. Adults are currently named, one of the accused is 18 and should be named.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

He murdered a kid, but we're worried about what people will think of him?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

The Shukan Shincho is just making money off of the incident and any claim that it's "important that the public know" is BS.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

In recent years, there has been an increase in violent crimes committed by minors, leading many media commentators to debate the legal taboo over publishing their names.

Whoa! There is nothing to substantiate that statement. Overall crimes (of all types) by juveniles are down because there are fewer juveniles. "Increase in violent crimes" isn't true either. Certain types of crimes that were common among young adults are now being committed by people of increasingly younger ages, but it is questionable that overall the number has "increased." The White Paper on Crime (Hanzai Hakusho) published each year by the National Police Agency will attest to the decline in overall numbers.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

smtih,

Thank you very much.

Hope any debate it stirs on the issue of making the names public of serious offenders also strengthens the resolve to try these murderers as adults.

Well said.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I posted a link to their names, photos, Twitter accounts, etc., last week, and got deleted. The info is very easy to find, and these goons are EXACTLY as you would expect them to be...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

TheInterstat,

You are correct. I found it in just a few seconds. It is all over the internet.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

18 year olds can vote they are adults.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

NHK quoted a psychologist as saying that the privacy of juvenile suspects needs to be protected—no matter how serious the alleged crime—otherwise the rehabilitation process will be hampered.

This is absolute nonsense! Cold blooded killers don't get to be rehabilitated; I don't care how old they are. They get life in prison. I totally commend what this magazine is doing and I hope more follow suit!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No matter what, all of their names and photos should be published and known to the people. They are old enough to be a fathers of their own. Don't confuse with the so called legal age that is not true always. Bad guys must be exposed. This gang leader is so cruel so that he should be tried as an adult person. I'll support any judge that gives him a death sentence.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

also strengthens the resolve to try these murderers as adults.

If you know they are murderers why do you want a trial at all? Presumably we could save an awful lot of tax money and court time if we just asked Shukan Shincho to pass judgement on all cases from now on. There may well be a strong case for releasing the names and photos of convicts after a trial. But (as your post so deftly demonstrates) there seems to an unwillingness to separate guilt from accusation ; and a total willingness to accept everything the media prints about a case as absolute truth. If you were a juror is this how you would approach this case?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

TheInterstat,

You are correct. I found it in just a few seconds. It is all over the internet.

I was also able to find the information quite easily.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In Japan minors who have reached age 18 can be tried as an adult and can even be given the death penalty. But even for adults the death penalty is seldom given when the convicted has killed "only" one person. So it is not likely to be the sentence in this case.

I hope the laws are changed so that 18 year-olds can vote and be considered adults when charged with a crime, but until the law is changed I think the media should abide by it and not publish the names, photos, and other identifying detail.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good on them! A little bit of naming and shaming might make them think twice.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Educator60MAR. 06, 2015 - 10:06PM JST

I hope the laws are changed so that 18 year-olds can vote and be considered adults when charged with a crime, but until the law is changed I think the media should abide by it and not publish the names, photos, and other identifying detail.

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I agree with you. They are old enough.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Those youths brought this on themselves. Whatever is written or published or whatever happens to them now is karma. I don't think at this point they even deserve clemency or privacy for what they did.

As a minor, when you take a human life in such a cruel way or are involved in such a merciless crime because you wanted to be the king rat of the rat pack, you will not be protected because of your age from the lynching society is going to want to bring down upon you.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@toshiko "I agree with you. They are old enough."

Yes, I really think they are, even though there are bound to be some who aren't willing or capable of being a responsible adult at 18. There's no magic switchover, I know some very responsible and Davy 15 year olds and some totally clueless 50 year olds. But society has to pick an age and I think 18 is a good enough compromise.

Admittedly my own experience has shaped my opinion. When laws were changed in the US my birthdate happened to place me in the first group of 18 year olds to vote and I also served as a juror that year. I was also working to support myself and got married. Had I committed a crime I would have expected to be tried and punished as an adult.

But again, until the laws are changed, the media has no business publishing such photos and information. Their proper moves would be to engage in debate, lobby the government for change, educate the public about the systems in place in other countries, etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No more coddling. If they are old enough to commit murder then they are old enough to deal with consequences. The public has right to be vigilant and defend themselves against these monsters. Who knows when they might strike again as they have no conscience of taking another human life.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

otherwise the rehabilitation process will be hampered.

Yep, those guys must be able to rehabilitate them just fine in a matter of months, and they turn out to be wonderful Japanese citizens, eh?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think some of you are taking this psychologist's remark the wrong way:

NHK quoted a psychologist as saying that the privacy of juvenile suspects needs to be protected - no matter how serious the alleged crime - otherwise the rehabilitation process will be hampered.

The key words here are suspects and alleged; not convicted. If names/photos of minors are publicized anytime before conviction, and they are found innocent, that would definitely hamper a kid's ability to recover and go to school or get a job as if nothing happened.

As for slumdog's comment, he makes a good point because realistically, anybody at any age who is accused of a serious crime and then found innocent would have a hard time returning to life as normal, however, we obviously have to draw the line somewhere.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Law in of itself is weird in that the media is prohibited from releasing the name of the accused when he/she is officially prosecuted by the family courts or criminal courts. In other words, media has the discretion to release the name at time he/she is arrested, detained, and investigated.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Nigelboy: That is weird. For serious crimes, should be the other way maybe?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nigelboy: That is weird. For serious crimes, should be the other way maybe?

Severity of the crime has nothing to do with the law it seems.

In this case, once the suspects are officially sent to the courts by the prosecution, the media from that point on including Shukan Shincho, cannot disclose their names.

In the case of Hiroshima where a minor killed a mother and a new born, the media did not release the name of the suspect throughout the process. Only when the Supreme court (final decision) decided to uphold the death penalty is when some media chose to release the name of the convicted.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

NHK likes to scoop first and when it does not it always complain/ Japanese weeklies are doing freedom of speech. They sure make money So what. They don;t make as much as Mitsubishi or Mitsui/ $$t$hey don't have to wait result of trials that may be too many years later. They publish corrupted [p;otocoan stpriew befpre tria;. Difference between weeklies and NHK is that NHK stproes.often, it has to apo;pgy/ Like several years ago, Hashimoto family background stories,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An easy search on Google already shows all we need to know and more.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good for them!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The key words here are suspects and alleged; not convicted. If names/photos of minors are publicized anytime before conviction, and they are found innocent, that would definitely hamper a kid's ability to recover and go to school or get a job as if nothing happened.

I agree, but they don't even post this later when they are convicted.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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