crime

Unidentified email sender claims to be 'real culprit' in PC death threat case

14 Comments

An email was sent to media organizations and lawyers on Friday, in which the unidentified sender claimed to the be "the real culprit" behind a series of email death threats in 2012 that were sent by hacking into other people's computers.

In the high-profile case, four individuals were mistakenly arrested during the initial investigation.

Following an exhaustive hunt that at one stage had authorities tracking down a cat for clues, according to reports, IT worker Yusuke Katayama was arrested on charges of using a remote computer and sending a mass-killing threat to a comic book event after months of evading investigators with a series of vexing cyber-riddles.

Friday's email came as Katayama's trial continued Friday, Fuji TV reported. In it, the sender referred to the "PC remote control virus case," and said: "I am the one responsible. It has been a while hasn't it?" The unknown sender wrote that he/she had framed Katayama for the cyberattacks. "Katayama sure has landed in a tough spot, and I felt a bit sorry for him," the sender wrote.

The case has proved embarrassing for the National Police Agency (NPA) after it emerged that officers had extracted "confessions" from four people who had nothing to do with the threats.

An anonymous hacker then sent messages to newspapers and broadcasters, with the sender claiming details of a computer virus used to dispatch the threats were strapped to a cat living on an island near Tokyo.

After cracking a set of riddles, police found the cat and removed a digital memory card from its collar which revealed a message saying "a past experience in a criminal case" had caused the hacker to act.

Police analyzed the memory card and footage taken by security cameras, coming to suspect that Katayama, a resident of Tokyo, was responsible for the hacking campaign, media said.

Following Friday's new revelations, police said they are trying to track down the sender of the latest email and will question Katayama further, Fuji TV reported. Katayama is currently out on bail for the duration of his trial which began in February.

Katayama told a news conference Friday that he did not send the email and maintained his innocence in the case.

© Japan Today/AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
Login to comment

So where's Detective Conan when you need him?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

4 people were arrested mistakenly? Great investigation. Thank goodness none admitted during questioning.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Thank goodness none admitted during questioning.

All 4 falsely accused did confess to sending the messages when questioned and pressured with evidence that the messages were sent from their computers, even though they were innocent. That is what was so outrageous about this case.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Cricky

Thank goodness none admitted during questioning.

But apparently they DID "extract confessions" (as is very often the case in Japan).

The case has proved embarrassing for the National Police Agency (NPA) after it emerged that officers had extracted “confessions” from four people who had nothing to do with the threats.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

An email was sent to media organizations and lawyers on Friday, in which the unidentified sender claimed to the be “the real culprit” behind a series of email death threats in 2012 that were sent by hacking into other people’s computers.

And if I was pulling a caper like this I'd have a "deadman's switch" email set up. If I didn't log into a certain account once a month then it would automatically send the email claiming responsibility.

I'm not saying the cops have got the right guy, and I sure hope they have a LOT more evidence than some blurry CCTV footage, but I'm also saying that this email isn't proof of anything either.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Thank you everyone, I was wrong. Some or all admitted being the culprit and admitted guilt. The Inquisition did not have such a success rate. But from the story none were guilty? Mmmmm some questions best not asked I think?

Hang them all, god knows his own

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

"The case has proved embarrassing for the National Police Agency (NPA) after it emerged that officers had extracted “confessions” from four people who had nothing to do with the threats."

Now if Abe and company wish to change the constitution I suggest it be changed for a guarantee of due process of the law and changing time to be held without charges from 23 days to 72 hours like other supposed democracies around the globe.

I will also suggest Abe and his band of merry fools suggest prosecutors go back over every case concerning the death penalty and review "evidence" as to whether it was circumstantial or actual hard evidence. Laziness of the Japanese legal system from the top down is rotting away any idea of justice from actual justice in Japan.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Katayama told a news conference Friday that he did not send the email and maintained his innocence in the case.

This is a prime example of how Japan's justice system works, beat confessions out of people no matter who... 4 people confessed to a crime they did not commit and now this guy the same claims he is not part of it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Great investigation, charge 4 find 5 and still no clue, but looking for clues is not really the point.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The problem with the justice system in Japan is that it is rotten from almost every angle. Many people point to the 99.6% conviction rate as evidence of this but it is only half the story. The reason it is so high is that prosecutors only tend to pursue cases where there has been a confession, meaning that those who deny their crimes have a fairly high chance of not being prosecuted. The rumor is that public prosecutors may only have 3 acquittals during the span of their careers.

The result of this is that if a prosecution is brought in a case where the defendant pleads not guilty, the judge must automatically assumes that the case against him is strong, otherwise why would the Japanese prosecutors have taken such a risky career move?

The Japanese legal system is basically aping western legal systems but it is fundamentally unfit for purpose. The problem seems to lie in how judges are appointed in Japan. In the UK or Europe, they are basically nominated from groups of well regarded and experienced lawyers or distinguished law professors. In other words, nobody can decide to be a judge when they grow up. In Japan on the other hand, during the legal training course that all bar exam graduates must attend, the candidates are observed by the Ministry of Justice and the ones with the 'right temperament' (ie those most conservative and servile) are taken aside and offered positions as prosecutors and trainee assistant judges. A pimply faced recent bar exam graduate with no practical life or legal experience can be selected and trained up to sit in judgement of others. There is a really great book about this written by a former judge, Hiroshi Segi who has quit and become a professor instead. The book is only in Japanese but here is a link to a translated talk he gave at the FCCJ:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NQd7dD7DJrQ

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Extracted confessions? More like tortured confessions from them.

What do the NPA hire Yakuza hit men for the position of Extraction Information Officer ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sounds like a movie could be made about this.... a cat with a digital memory card in its collar?!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe the cat sent the message. They can be vindictive if they get hungry.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Was in the other room and didn't hear all the details but the TV just had something about suspicions running high that Katayama sent the email himself using a time delay function so it would be sent while he was in the courtroom (i.e. giving him an alibi). Something about him acting in a suspicious manner on a riverbank before the court appearance and a smartphone found buried there later.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites