A court in Sapporo on Friday sentenced a 27-year-old man to seven years in prison for kidnapping a 9-year-old girl and confining her at his apartment.
The court heard that Rina Hataya, a student at Higashi-Sapporo Elementary School, disappeared on Jan 27 after telling her mother that she was going to buy a notebook for school. She was found six days later unharmed after being kept confined in the apartment of Hajime Matsui who lured her to follow him by pretending to be a policeman.
After questioning the girl’s friends and the family’s neighbors, police released Hataya's photo to the media, appealing for public help.
On the night of Feb 2, police received a call from Matsui's neighbor, stating, "There is a suspicious man living nearby who is always carrying comic books intended for young girls...I don't know for sure, but he might be related to the case of the missing girl."
A taxi driver also told police that Matsui had been a passenger in his cab.
Police waited outside the apartment and when Matsui came out, they asked if the missing girl was inside. Matsui said no but police asked to search his apartment and found the girl inside.
According to police, the girl had never met Matsui before and said she was approached by Matsui in the parking lot near her house as she was returning home.
Matsui's apartment is about 350 meters from the girl's home.
In handing down the seven-year sentence, the presiding judge said Matsui committed a heartless act just to satisfy his own desires, NTV reported.
However, Hayata's parents expressed dissatisfaction with the sentence, saying it was too light and that Matsui showed no remorse during the trial. They said their daughter still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).© Japan Today