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Man sentenced to death over 16 arson murders


The Osaka High Court on Tuesday upheld a death sentence on a 49-year-old man convicted of setting fire to a video-viewing establishment in 2008, in which 16 people died. According to the ruling, Kazuhiro Ogawa -- who had pleaded not guilty -- lit paper in a bag with his lighter at the establishment early on the morning of Oct 1, 2008. Ogawa's defense had argued that the fire started in a different room from the one occupied by Ogawa, according to TV reports.

But in Tuesday's ruling, the court said that eyewitness reports placing Ogawa in the room where the fire started were reliable. Ogawa had lost his job and was in the process of getting a divorce at the time of the crime.

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Okay, I have to voice an opinion now. Otherwise it will just fester in my mind.

This man killed 16 people. Yes, it is an unforgivable crime; but by punishing a killer with death, how they any better than him? If ending a life deserves death, shouldn't those who put him to death also suffer? Stop lowering yourselves to the same level.

0 ( +6 / -5 )

You are making a rational argument, but many Japanese believe that the punishment should fit the crime. For most Japanese a criminal has NO RIGHTS, because you think about the victims rights. So kind of cut and dry for the Japanese, especially when you talk about the justice system.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I don't know the particulars of this crime, but did he intend to kill people or just burn the place down? That would seem the difference between a life or death sentence.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Tophatandcane-You are dead right. The abolition of the death penalty is the benchmark for a civilised society. Time for Japan to move out of the dark ages and join the world of decent developed nations like Europe, Australaisa etc.

0 ( +4 / -3 )

... looking at this case I'm left totally confused. It seems like the sum total of the evidence against this guy is that he was having problems in his private life and was seen near where the fire was supposed to have started. I mean serious??? Is that what passes for "proof" in Japanese courts?

And what sort of place burns down completely because of some paper being burnt in a bag? There must have been serious numbers of video tapes concentrated in a small area and acting as an accelerant, and that in itself is a fire hazard that should have required the owner to have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

I'm just having a hard time seeing a burning bag of paper resulting in an entire building burning down without enough time for people to get out unless there was massive negligence by the owner of the building, and that for me moves this case from "murder" to "manslaughter" unless they can prove that he intended to kill those people.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

He seems unbalanced, Why start a fire in a building? He was hit with a Double wammy, Losing his Job and getting Divorced. Yes, but it doesn't not constitute the right to commit an insane act. He was not a child playing with matches and the relatives of the people he murdered should have closure with the defendent receiving Life inprisonment or the ultimate penalty.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The terrible fire saftey of this establishment definately played a part in the fire, but you could also counter that point with the expectation that as an adult he should have been able to judge that to some degree himself.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This SCUM down in Osaka needs to HANG ASAP!!!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As ever, the "hang 'em high" crowd are so excited that someone will hang that they miss every rational point there could be.

Justice would be burning him alive if you had even a child's sense of justice.

No rights? Everyone has rights. Open up the door to taking away someone's rights and then excuses are made to take away the rights of others too. Its a dangerous game of chicken, and a door that should never be opened.

TopHat is right. Kill him, or advocated killing him, and you are a murderer or a supporter of murder.

-3 ( +2 / -4 )

Kill him, or advocated killing him, and you are a murderer or a supporter of murder.

I am opposed to the death penalty yet I completely disagree with this.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In general, I'm ok with capital punishment but in this case it seems as though this man has been convicted on circumstantial evidence and assumptions on his state of mind based on his divorce and loss of work.

I recall that this was an Adult Video viewing establishment. I don't see how "reliable" any witness accounts could have been, seeing as most patrons would have been in their own closed rooms, engrossed in their entertainment and probably in a tripodded state.

The very reason the causalities were so high points out that design of the building was not one that promoted openness and mingling with other patrons. One would also have to question how "reliable" could the witness accounts be, coming from the caliber of people visiting this kind of establishment.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I remember this article of Osaka. I think this is very bad news. He is crazy man. I can't kill 16 people too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I could show this story to my own mother and she would vomit.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Amazing, 2008, a divorce and kills 16 unknown people ? Sounds like the idiot in Norway ? You don't like the courts or the government, then just burn it down !

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am opposed to the death penalty yet I completely disagree with this.

Okay. So you are opposed to the death penalty because...?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Can nobody see the difference between a cold callous excuse for a human being murdering many innocent people, and putting to death a convicted criminal who showed no mercy to those people? To my mind, it is not the same thing at all. I am not necessarily for the death penalty, but in a cut and dried case (and to be fair I dont know all the details of this one so I dont know if it is cut and dried) I am (Norway for example). Anyone who callously takes away the rights of an innocent individual to live should equally have their own right to life removed.

However, I would be equally happy if that "right to life" would include never seeing the light of day again. As long as that life is not made comfortable. I think that is why many people in the UK get frustrated with our lack of death penalty - we regularly see stories of prisons equipped with gyms, prisoners with cellphones, movie nights - its more like a holiday camp than a prison.

A guy in the UK who murdered two little girls was attacked in a UK prison recently and is now suing the government for "failure to protect his right to life" - he is getting legal aid at the taxpayers expense. Another East European guy came to the UK specifically to commit a crime and get arrested because he heard from his brother in jail how great UK prisons are. I think this is where people reach the end of their tether with the anti-death penalty movement. The alternative of "life" in prison as a punishment hardly seems to fit the crime.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


I am generally against the death penalty. However in this case, I will gladly pull the lever on his platform before he drops.

The sooner society rids itself of serial killers & mass-murderers the better. Murderers, they can serve time - the rest of their life. This guy, ending so many lives, deserves his taken - it is righteous.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )


It's not "righteous". By putting him to death, how are you any better than he is? If ending a lfe deserves death then shouldn't those who put him to death resign themselves to it to?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

TopHat et al,

Life is only sacred for those who uphold the values of society. Obviously this individual felt differently about people and society, and has given up the right to have his life treated the same as those who adhere to society's rules.

Look at the Norwegian man who killed 76 people. He may get a maximum 30 years in jail, because Norway thinks he can eventually be put back into society. Should Japan follow their lead? Only if they're truly mad.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

TopHat, the problem with your argument is that you fail to understand the difference between murder and the death penalty. Let me clear it up for you.

Murder is defined as the unlawful killing of one human being by another. The death penalty is defined as punishment by death. If society deems some kinds of killings unlawful (referred to here as murder)and another kind lawful (such as in Japan with the death penalty), there is no contradiction at all.

Have a nice day.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I find arguments about the death penalty amusing to read. I've never seen a situation in which one side writes something so compelling that the other side changes their stance on the subject.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For those of you moaning about the criminal's rights, go ask the 16 victims how they feel about their right to live, love, and thrive being stripped away from them for no reason except they happened to be in the same building as the criminal. Someone with that much disregard for other human life will NOT be rehabilitated, no matter what the bleeding hearts claim.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

People always complain about the death penalty then they complain about a life sentence. What are we suppose to do with these criminals then? Some people are just unstable and can not be rehabilitated. Anyway, The death penalty is not done right away, they gotta wait. If you wanna stop it then think of another way to punish these people instead of just complaining.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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