The Tokyo District Court has set a date for the opening session in the trial of a 37-year-old man charged with killing an 18-year-old woman in November 2018.
The lay judge trial of Koichi Hirose, who is from Kamisu, Ibaraki Prefecture, had been postponed from March because of the coronavirus, Sankei Shimbun reported. He is accused of murder and corpse abandonment.
According to the indictment, 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 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.© Japan Today/Kyodo