The Tokyo District Court on Monday sentenced a 22-year-old man to five years in prison for killing a 36-year-old woman whom he claimed told him she wanted to die.
The court found Mizuki Kitajima, of Iruma, Saitama Prefecture, guilty of killing Hiromi Araki at the hotel in Ikebukuro on Sept 12, Sankei Shimbun reported. He strangled Araki sometime between 6 and 8 p.m. that day. Araki's body, with her ankles tied, was found inside a large plastic bag by a hotel employee.
Araki left her home in Tokyo's Koto Ward at around 3 p.m. after telling her family she was going to a hospital. Police investigations showed that Kitajima checked into the hotel room at around 3:40 p.m. Security camera footage showed a woman entering the room at 5:50 p.m. Kitajima then left the hotel by himself at 7:40 p.m., police said.
Kitajima told police he had been using Twitter, looking for people expressing a desire to commit suicide. He said Araki was such a person and that he met her for the first time on the day of her death.
Kitajima's defense argued that he was only helping Araki fulfill her wish to die. However, the presiding judge said that killing someone just because they wanted to die could not be seen as helping them.
The court heard that another time before he met Araki, Kitajima had been in contact with a teenage girl who expressed a wish to commit suicide. Kitajima and the girl arranged to meet up, but when he arrived at the appointed location, with a cord to strangle her, the girl never showed up and her SNS account had been suspended.
The National Police Agency has been struggling to come up with ways to deal with so-called suicide sites on social media since a notorious series of murders in 2017 when a man admitted to killing and dismembering nine people aged between 15 and 26 at his apartment in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture. All the victims had posted suicidal thoughts on Twitter before being approached by him online.© Japan Today