crime

Youth gets 5-9 years in prison for killing Mie schoolgirl

75 Comments

A 19-year-old youth was sentenced to between 5 and 9 years in prison Tuesday for the murder of a 15-year-old schoolgirl in Asahi, Mie Prefecture, in August 2013.

The defendant, who cannot be named because he is a minor, also attempted to sexually assault the victim, Hiromi Terawa, before killing her and stealing 6,000 yen from her purse.

Three professional judges and six lay judges handed down their verdict at the Tsu District Court, Fuji TV reported.

After the verdict, the victim's father expressed anger at the light sentence. He told a news conference that the defendant had shown no remorse during the trial and did not care about the gravity of his crime. He said his daughter could not rest in peace with such a verdict.

Terawa was last seen alive on the night of Aug 25, 2013. Her body was found on Aug 29 in a vacant lot. Police established that Terawa was on her way home from watching a fireworks festival. She walked with a friend as far as a supermarket, and then continued on by herself. A motorist reported seeing her walking along the street about 400 meters from the vacant lot. The last contact with her was at 10:55 p.m. when she emailed her friend on her cell phone. Her sister tried to call her at 11:17 p.m. but there was no answer, leading police to believe she was already dead at that time.

Terawa's naked body was found by an officer on patrol. The cause of death was strangulation. Her clothes, bag and cell phone were found nearby.

Nearly 8,000 police worked on the case and surveillance camera footage led them to the suspect who lived near where the girl's body was found. He was arrested in March 2014.

The defendant pleaded guilty. He told the court he did not know the girl and that his intent was to rape and then rob her.

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75 Comments
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Toshiko,

Prosecutor should never accepted plea bargain.

Unlike in the US justice system, Japanese courts do not accept plea bargains. He pleaded guilty, which is not the same thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why did he have to kill her?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Prosecutor should never accepted plea bargain. Is plea bargain for each crime? Or just once? This kind of verdict discourage any police people to work sincere on sexual crime and even robbery, not mentioning murder. Also encourage pervert and potential murderer. Or these jurors who voted nit guilty enciuraging 19 year old to be a murderer? robber? pervert? sexual assault specialist?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why? Why was something so priceless so valuable so innocent. A childs life, taken? There is much suffering in the world as it stands. Why must our children suffer the same. Where was the koban (police box) officer at the time? Many questions yet no answers.

As a father myself I feel blessed with two angels, I can't imagine losing them, I would give anything to protect my family. I really feel deeply for such a loss, my condolences go's out to the family.

To raise your child, the future prospect of seeing your grandchildren. These are a sence of achievement in its own right. They've too have now been snatched away from the parents.

My message to the parents, please, please, please, watch over the other sibling as she's probably the only child, she's not only lost a sister, but a very close friend, a roommate, a good listener, someone she could turn to, a very important team member in school and group activities, someone who would best understand her, someone to have a laugh with, a school lunch time partner, someone to help and discuss homework with, someone to go weekend shopping with, someone to give a seccond opinion on fashion accessories, a friendly rival and a very important person. (as my brother was to me)

The loss has no doubt effected the child the most, please give her all the support you can, as a parent. I believe you understand fully the importance of siblings, assuming you were not an only child.

Think me strange if you will, laugh at my post if you will, I am sure the those that contribute are not that immature. I consider the child of a stranger as my own. I would happily welcome this family or any family that suffered as such to my home.

Thank you for reading.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

String him up, he's not worth the time and money to house him in prison. If I was the father of that poor girl, I'd be waiting at the prison gates when he walks out.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Rather late to comment.

In the uk, we always blame violence in movies or games in similar situations. In this case and I quote

"The defendant, who cannot be named because he is a minor, also attempted to sexually assault the victim, Hiromi Terawa, before killing her and stealing 6,000 yen from her purse. He told the court he did not know the girl and that his intent was to rape and then rob her." End quotes.

He is 19, in the Uk you are classified an adult at 18. perhaps a difference in laws.

Personally I haven't been to Japan although I intend to on a business trip. A friend who is a Japanese national had a home stay a few years back. 14 at the time, he was asking why do shops in London have adult magazines (aka Top Shelf Magazine) so high up on the highest shelf. The obvious answer was to stop minors gaining access to them.

According to him. erotica, Hentai books to be exact are easily accessible in Japan. My question to those liveing in Japan, was he bluffing? Japan is a great nation with a culture of great respect, I find it hard to believe what he said.

Please enlighten me on this.

Regards

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There will be ample time for rehabilitation.......during what should have been 25/30 years of reflection and contemplation into the gravity of the atrocities committed to Hiromi Terawa and the lifetimes worth of memories brutally robbed and deprived from Hiromi Terawa family and friends.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Kazuaki Fair chance for rehabilitation? The girl (and probably her family) doesn't have a chance for rehabilitation so why should this murderer-rapist-thief have one?!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

5-9 years? That's an absolute disgrace and an insult to justice.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If any criminal justice system fails the most vulnerable, then that justice system is hardly fit for purpose, at some point during the assault and robbery this 'minor' consciously decided to strangle 15-year-old Hiromi Terawa to death. How did the judiciary respond to victim? A 5 to 9 year sentence and guaranteed anonymity by law to start over possibly/probably with a new identity.

The role of victims' families in the judicial process needs to be reviewed so 15-year-old Hiromi Terawa memory is treated with dignity and respect. There will be no moving on or closure for Hiromi Terawa family or friends, financial restitution won't relieve the bitterness and resentment, that will fester indefinitely.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Not defending, but by japanese law he is a minor. We give lighter sentences for minors in Canada and the states all the time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sentence aside i am more worried about what will happen when he comes free in 5 years

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

****aww why such intent.. It's so sad

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Mixed feelings on this one. Yes, the boy's crime is heinous and all that. However, from a rehabiliation standpoint, this 5-9 year sentence happens to straddle some critical points. When the boy comes out, he's nearly 25-30 and only a high school graduate. In a society where job mobility is still much lower than in the West, and people line up jobs for after their high school / university graduation, his opportunities are already significantly reduced (even ignoring the bit about the criminal record).

I see your point. I mean, we can't have the poor rapist murderer and robber living uncomfortably when he comes out of prison, can we? Cant have him struggling to make ends meet.

I just hope he never bumps into one of your daughters.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I agree that this sentence is too light, but many posters here seem to be confused as to the details and how justice systems work. The relevant age of the convicted is not the age at the time the sentence is pronounced, but rather the age at the time the crime was committed. In this case, the youth is 19 now, he was 17 when he killed Terawa.

Is one reason for the shorter sentence that the murder was considered to be not premeditated, although the attempted rape was?

@ Wc626 "The family needs to speak out. Hold a press conference."

They did. It was on the news yesterday (Tuesday). They are planning to take advantage of the system that allows them to sue the convicted for a sum of money.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If it was just rape, would it be a longer sentence?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What makes this so disgusting is that the killer's name is kept secret. Kazuaki, you think he will be unemployable? That might be the case if his name were publicly available. As it is, he really does get to start a whole new life... without anyone around him ever being aware that there is a killer in their midst.

We treat some poor sap whose arm brushed against a woman's breast on the train worse than this.

The coddling of "juvenile" criminals has to stop. It's as if everyone up to 19 years, 364 days old has total license to do whatever heinous things they like, knowing that all they will get is a figurative slap on the wrist. I'd rather see light sentences combined with putting the killer's name in the public record than lengthening the sentence. This kid, that girl who killed her father with a baseball bat a few months ago, the Sakakibara decapitator years ago... the law gives them all total anonymity while someone over 20 who is even accused of a crime gets his name dragged through the mud.

All guilty verdicts in murder cases, regardless of the perpetrator's age, should be public record. You can't take someone else's life and get to keep yours totally intact.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I hope the "youth" doesn't kill anyone else when he gets out of prison in 5-9 years.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

it's not about the sentence but the lesson we can learn from here. Why this individual has been said has "no remorse neither regret". Finding the root is important. Its because the lack of authority or to much pressure from authority. What is the cause and the solution. What if it already done how to avoid the damage to happen twice.

For all i know, either he repent and see the light beyond the jail bar or when he get out, its just became worse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Absolutely inane to think of this guy as a 'minor'. Kinda gives due warning on what's going to happen to the 18yo who killed Ryota Uemura...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki:

" When the boy comes out, he's nearly 25-30 and only a high school graduate. In a society where job mobility is still much lower than in the West "

The "boy"? The "BOY"?? This 19-year old rapist, murderer and robber is a "boy"? If the Japanese law takes that view, something is seriously wrong.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I agree with the girl's father, 5-9 years is not a jail sentence for this serious of a crime. Either life or execution would be fair.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Absolutely outrageous.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sentences like these are very common in Europe, too. I've already given up on justice too many times to be surprised by this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@kazuaki shimozaki

So, the sentence was placed at around the last points where [i]if he chooses[/i] he still has something approaching a fair chance to rehabiliate, rather than resorting to crime or going for government handouts.

Amazing insight into the Japanese way of thinking. Rehabilitation! I supposed it never crossed your mind that someone who commits such a crime (and without remorse) is without doubt psychopathic and will always be considered a risk to reoffend in the same manner. Of course, with his identity kept a secret, the people around him will be oblivious to the danger they may be in. And how about closure for the victim's family? How would you feel if this had happened to your daughter? This sentence is further punishment for everyone connected to the poor girl. You may well be a troll, but it seems sometimes Japanese people struggle with working out consequences and the processes of critical thinking.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A simple question......... How can public confidence in the Criminal Justice System be upheld when the victim, 15-year-old Hiromi Terawa murdered by 19 years old who identify is protected,that has shown no remorse during the trial and did not care about the gravity of his crime, whose intent was to rape then rob, that subsequently three professional judges and six lay judges arrogantly without forethought negate explanation to the victims family for handing down a paltry 5 and 9 years prison sentence. That is not Justice. Write to your MP demand a public inquiry, who are the faceless judges?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

if I were the father just out of jail would kill.

I am not a fan of vigilante justice, but in this case, I'm right with you.

That young man must have exceptionally good lawyers.

Where I come from, people get similar sentences for neglecting their pets.

As a taxpayer, I am so disgusted with the Japanese justice system right now.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I don't know how I feel about this. Sentences in the states are far too harsh for most crimes, but this one is insultingly low. If I thought that a longer sentence would distract others from committing the same sort of crime, I'd be all for it.

Sorry but a 19 year old knows better and shouldn't be treated like a little kid. As an educator, a parent, and a permanent resident of Japan, I'd like to see justice be not only more realistic, but also more reflective of society's norms. I don't know anyone, foreign or native Japanese who considers this justice.

And the above commenter is correct - the police/courts go nuts about relatively inconsequential things like traffic crimes and small amounts of pot, but they seem at a loss when something like this happens. Fushigii...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

if I were the father just out of jail would kill,

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Speechless. Justice is dead in Japan.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Stealing pekochan 7 years in jail, killing someone 5-9... doesn't add up.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

out of all of the above comments there is only 1 thumbs down, this must be a all time low, I think that the media should launch a campaign to support the family and also bring the judges into question as to why they dished out this silly low sentence. Can we start that here? Will the media/papper start that campaign? If there is any justice for this girls parents? If there is any sense of fair play in this world? WE need to start campaigning right now to get this ruling over turned!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Commodore Shmidlap (Retired)MAR. 25, 2015 - 11:32AM JST

Even if you believe the purpose of imprisonment is both punishment and rehabilitation, I fail to see how such a short sentence could encompass either. I doubt any time spent in prison is "easy time," but this slight a sentence is tantamount to getting away with it and what would be the purpose of setting this guy loose on society after this?

Mixed feelings on this one. Yes, the boy's crime is heinous and all that.

However, from a rehabiliation standpoint, this 5-9 year sentence happens to straddle some critical points. When the boy comes out, he's nearly 25-30 and only a high school graduate. In a society where job mobility is still much lower than in the West, and people line up jobs for after their high school / university graduation, his opportunities are already significantly reduced (even ignoring the bit about the criminal record).

If we give him a "decent" sentence of say 15-20 years, when he comes out, he'd be 35-40 and nearly unemployable. (Don't point miracle cases at me - we're talking averages here).

So, the sentence was placed at around the last points where [i]if he chooses[/i] he still has something approaching a fair chance to rehabiliate, rather than resorting to crime or going for government handouts.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

In answer to numerous questions during his trial the "youth" repeated "I can't remember." The victim's father pointed out that he can still remember his daughter's first cries when she was born.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This must be joke right? He's 19!! That's not a youth anymore. Japan needs to lower the age of being an adult and have full responsibility for their actions (such as ... Gasp ... Killing somebody) to the age of 18. There's hope that other inmates will deal with him in proper justice.

4 ( +3 / -0 )

It's a joke. It's a Minor? intend to rape and rob that's not a minor, life sentence for murdering an innocent girl

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The parents should consult with the lawyers successfully suing the family whose kid distracted a scooter-riding senior with a soccerball. Because that family was awarded Y15 million, and this seems a lot worse.

DaDude: Not to worry, his picture and address are all over the internet. Best case scenario, he is introduced to the front of a car the moment he steps out of the prison gates.

I dunno. It's been 30 years since the Paris Cannibal's return to Japan, and he's still running wild and free in Kawasaki.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Only 5 to 9 years for that??? And in the same news we read that the parents of a kid who did nothing worse than kicking a soccer ball at a soccer goal and missed have to pay 15 million yen in damages to the family of some guy who fell off is scooter??

What the hell is wrong with the courts in this country? These sentences are bizarre.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

F U C K All of you cowards

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now i can think of some people who deserve to be strangled who control the flow of information here on this website they will burn in eternal hell fire sorry SOBs sorry cowards hide behind your little computer screens why don't you make yourself available to me you know I would kick the $hit out of your faggot a$$es no doubt you are obama supporters you and obama are faggot suck buddies why do you sorry a$$holes censor my posts I know it is because I speak the truth and you wimps can't handle the truth you are scared of being real men or women then you would have to face the one true God who is the truth you prefer to worship a fat stupid guy named Buddha or some other stupid religion that does nothing for your soul but condem it to hell

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where is Vito Corleone when you need him.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Now i can think of some people who deserve to be strangled who control the flow of information here on this website they will burn in eternal hell fire sorry SOBs sorry cowards hide behind your little computer screens why don't you make yourself available to me you know I would kick the $hit out of your faggot a$$es no doubt you are obama supporters you and obama are faggot suck buddies

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unnn...difficult.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You get a longer sentence for having marijuana, if that tells people anything about the justice system in Japan. I'm glad for a change he was given a jail sentence instead of being sent to a reformatory, but still -- this is pathetic. It should be 20 years, minimum.

Ken Doyle: "This is highly irregular."

No, it's far TOO regular, unfortunately. Life is not worth much here.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

This is highly irregular.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Based on the murderer's sentence, one would think a human life is almost worthless in Japan.

7 ( +6 / -0 )

19 year olds are considered minors? The law is an .......... (I will let you finish the rest) unlike the poor 15 year old victim. This is not justice in the slightest. Professional judges, right......

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Not to worry, his picture and address are all over the internet. Best case scenario, he is introduced to the front of a car the moment he steps out of the prison gates.

6 ( +6 / -1 )

The three professional judges and six lay judges handed down the 15-year-old schoolgirl's family a life sentence without remission.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Sentencing 5 to 9 years imprisonment is a real joke for raping, stealing, and murdering a 15 year old girl. It could have been different if the girl was the only daughter of Prime minister or the minister of Justice of the Japanese government. The 19 year old guy should be locked up for life or sent to gallows.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The Terawa family got violated by the justice system. The family needs to speak out. Hold a press conference.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This makes little sense to me, based on the above information alone. There must surely have been some mitigating circumstances, yes/no?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Even if you believe the purpose of imprisonment is both punishment and rehabilitation, I fail to see how such a short sentence could encompass either. I doubt any time spent in prison is "easy time," but this slight a sentence is tantamount to getting away with it and what would be the purpose of setting this guy loose on society after this?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

i would really like to learn about the reasoning behind this decision. It sounds nuts...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

If I were that father and I had no other children, it would become my mission in life to kill that rat bastard, full stop. I'd bribe whoever necessary to off him in prison, alert me to his whereabouts when he gets released etc.

9 ( +9 / -1 )

Stunningly light sentence was is this guy the son of a politican or rich businessmen or something?

8 ( +7 / -0 )

This 'man' needs to spend a much longer time incarcerated for this heinous crime.

7 ( +6 / -0 )

where is my post you sucking a$$holes

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This HAS to go to higher court, this is far too lenient a sentence. Life for a life. Sat in four grey walls. That is what needs to be handed to this murderer, rapist, thief.

5 ( +4 / -0 )

UNBELIEVABLE!!

I feel with the father of the girl. This sentence is a joke, a slap in the face.

And he will probably be released after serving half of the sentence, for good behavior or whatever.

Hope the inmates will take very good care of him!!

9 ( +8 / -0 )

5 to 9 years.................... 5 to 9 years? .............. beyond speechless.... this is criminal in on itself

11 ( +13 / -2 )

A ridiculous sentence! There should be significant and meaningful change from the current law which protects those 19 or younger.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

So, if they pass the bill to let 18 year olds vote, will that mean they can be sentenced as adults? The leniency of this sentence is only because he is a minor (at 19?). This is the kind of offense that should carry the death penalty. It's a premeditated murder of a random victim and he has shown no remorse. Hang the little trucker!

7 ( +7 / -1 )

What a ridiculous sentence for a disgusting abhorrent murder. So what if he is only 19, any other country he would be tried as an adult and given life. Someone needs to appeal this sentence and retry this little shit as an adult.

6 ( +5 / -0 )

This is an outrage. This youth should pay for such a heinous crime.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Japanese justice is playground games.

8 ( +8 / -1 )

I really wonder how they calculate a punishment like that, they really have to up the dosage because these punishments are low as hell.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Disgusting, weak sentence.

12 ( +13 / -2 )

This has to one of the saddest displays of justice I have come across.

14 ( +14 / -1 )

I am speechless.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

They should have given him at least the length of her life - 15 years.

....or how about the length of her life that she will no longer live? 50 years? 60 years?

19 ( +21 / -2 )

That's all? They should have given him at least the length of her life - 15 years.

21 ( +21 / -1 )

Completely STUPID! How long do you get for stealing?

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Unbelievable!! This is the price they put on human life in Japan! And the light sentence is why murders, especially by "minors" continue to happen!!!!!

23 ( +25 / -2 )

This is outrageous. I really feel for the victim's father. There was no justice given here. 5 years? Really? I would"ve have gotten a lot more staring at a cop the wrong way in the States.

He told the court he did not know the girl and that his intent was to rape and then rob her.

And what kind of callous comment is this? You'd think saying this alone would get you 20 years.....

33 ( +37 / -4 )

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