Man gets 14 years for killing student in 2018


A 37-year-old man has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for killing an 18-year-old woman in November 2018. Prosecutors had sought a 20-year jail term.

The lay judge trial at the Tokyo District Court of Koichi Hirose, who is from Kamisu, Ibaraki Prefecture, had been postponed from March because of the coronavirus, Fuji TV reported. It began on Oct 6. 

According to the court ruling on Monday, Hirose was arrested in January 2019 after admitting his involvement in the murder of Natsumi Kikuchi, a first-year university student. Hirose admitted strangling Kikuchi to death in his car and then buried her body in a field about 12 kilometers from his apartment.

The victim, who lived alone in Tokyo’s Katsushika Ward, went missing after visiting Kamisu on Nov 20. Hirose told police he met her on an internet bulletin board.

Police established that on Nov 20, Kikuchi, took a train from JR Ayase Station in Tokyo, to the city of Kashima in Ibaraki Prefecture, and later headed to nearby Kamisu by taxi. She got out at a convenience store, about 400 meters from Hirose's residence, at around 6 p.m. She then asked a passerby to point her in the direction of Hirose’s apartment. The signal from her mobile phone cut out around 11 p.m. that night.

During initial questioning, Hirose said he met Kikuchi on Nov 20 but she quickly went home. However, he changed his story and said he killed her inside his car because she made a fuss.

A male resident of Hirose's apartment building told local media said that on the evening of Nov 20, he saw a young woman crying and saying that she could not get back to Tokyo because she had no money.

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"sentenced to 14 years in prison for killing an 18-year-old woman", good he deserves it, poor woman

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Once again, justice is not served. Should be a life sentence.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Only 14 years? Why?

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Hirose admitted strangling Kikuchi to death in his car and then buried her body in a field about 12 kilometers from his apartment.

He even moved body and buried? He is plain murderer. And think about it this murderer come out from prison with 51 years old and walk with you in streets. Damn scary!!! What wrong with japan legal system?

I won't even wonder if he was killed someone before and buried and no one knows.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

This kind of murder is a life sentence.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

14 years for destroying a young life, stealing away her dreams and unrealised potential. Cruelly depriving her family and friends of the joy of knowing her and following her progress through life. Leaving in its place nothing but a boundless, wrenching grief.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I'm sure the lay judges were traumatized if they were shown the evidence, or pictures of the evidence. The career, professional Ministry of Justice judges may be more used to seeing graphic pictures, but the average citizen should not have to see something like that. I wonder if they have any impact on the sentencing. One dynamic of juries called together for one time, is that they have not been lied to before, and human nature is such that they may give more credence to defense attorney requests for sympathy and claims of mitigation. If they were to sit repeatedly and hear the same sorry stories, and repeatedly see evil in front of them, they would vote for progressively higher sentences each time until they got to the life sentences that some of us posters here think would have been appropriate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why only 14 years? I dont understand the Japanese sentence guidelines.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Zaphod, apparently neither do the judges.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It genuinely frustrates me when people commit atrocious crimes and they receive a sentence that is relatively light. I'm all for rehabilitating people who have commited petty or non-violent crimes but there are definitely cases like this where the perpetrators should be punished harshly. If you do further reading into this case it gets worse.

Another case I've seen where the perpetrator got off relatively lightly was the killing of Ryona Majima, a 19 year old woman who was fatally beaten in 2017. The killer was only sentenced to 11 years and 6 months.

And if you read the BBC's article 'Why some Japanese pensioners want to go to jail' you'll find out that there are some elderly people who have been sentenced to 2 year prison terms for crimes such stealing a bottle of pepper. It's frustrating.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why only 14 years? I dont understand the Japanese sentence guidelines.

First, get used to the fact that punishments in civil law countries tend to be lighter than the ones in common law countries, where murder can be mandatory life sentence.

In this case, the minima for homicide is 5 years, the maximum is the death penalty. This range has to cover a LARGE number of diverse scenarios. Defendant did not kill multiple people, did not kill as an official, well Victim is a minor but only in Japanese law and we all know if the defendant was 18-years old JapanToday commentators would refuse to grant him protections due a minor, she's not pregnant, strangulation within the methods of killing is not extremely cruel or dangerous, the perpetrator acted singularly, not for money, motives are about average for a murder case and not for concealing another crime, political, religious, racial or other such special classes of motivation; and not for organs.

Because of the above, the top portions of the punishment scale cannot be justified. Cutting out the bottom, it is a crime of purpose instead of conditional intent and there are no mitigating factors, so we can probably get rid of 5-10 years. Victim's a woman, still young ... 14 years is probably about right and if they go much higher, the sentence may be reduced on appeal (has happened before).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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