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Odds stacked against police in solving Shimane, Chiba student murders

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Police authorities have yet to find sufficient information to solve the two murder cases in Chiba and Shimane involving female college students. In particular, the brutality and savagery of the Shimane murder has itself become a stumbling block, and some investigators seem to feel that it may end up as a cold case.

The discovery of the body parts of victim Miyako Hiraoka, 19, freshman at the University of Shimane, have been described by a police insider as simply atrocious. “The torso had been burned while organs had been removed. It is hard to believe this was done for the sole purpose of destroying evidence. The dismembered remains indicate it may be a crime for pleasure, and the possibility of cannibalism cannot be denied either.”

Similar homicides involving cannibalism in the past includes the 1981 incident of a Japanese male who shot and killed a female Dutch college student in France, as well as the infamous serial murder of young girls by Tsutomu Miyazaki in 1989. In view of these cases, Shimane prefectural police are looking into local video stores to see who has been renting hardcore horror films.

According to the police source, the possibility of an individual with a personal grudge against the victim was the initial focus of the investigation, but they are now using all possible means to identify the car that transported the body parts.

On the other hand, the arson-murder of Chiba University student Yukari Ogino, 21, was at first considered to be a relatively straightforward case. The victim had been working as a part-time club hostess in Ueno, and the police had been investigating a list of men she was affiliated with. However, an image of a man captured by bank surveillance cameras withdrawing money with the victim’s ATM card the day before the murder did not match any of these men, and the culprit’s identity remains unknown. The possibility that the assailant may have had no previous connection with the victim is being considered.

A Chiba police source comments, “In the Matsudo jurisdiction where the victim resided, 20 cases have been reported this year involving indecent assaults. The victim lived in an area with few streetlights and her apartment was close to railway tracks. The sound of a train would easily muffle the noise of breaking a window, and if anyone had been screaming or shouting, it wouldn’t be heard. In fact, we haven’t been able to get much information from our door-to-door investigation.”

The victim’s body was burnt most severely from her waist down, and body fluid that would have been a key to solving the crime has mostly evaporated. Police believe that finding any DNA is close to impossible.

At the same time, investigators are now also reviewing the 1996 homicide case of Junko Kobayashi, then a Katsushika Ward resident studying at Sophia University. The student’s residence had been set afire where her dead body was found, similar to the case of Yukari Ogino. While the prefecture may differ, Matsudo is located on the other side of the Edogawa River from the 1996 crime scene. As both cases remain unresolved, the police are widening their scope of investigation to find any other correlation between the two murders.

© Japan Today

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11 Comments
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Odds are stacked against all major crimes being solved by a police force that lacks both motivation and clarity of purpose.

Could have said all this article does in one line.

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tkoind2

I don't agree with you that Japanese police lack motivation. That implies that they can't be bothered to do much to catch the killer. I know many decent hard-working police officers in Japan and they do not lack motivation. What they do lack, in my opinion, is imagination and intuitive reasoning, which can be a good starting pointing in investigations like these. You imagine what might have happened and see if the facts bear the theory out.

But having said all that, these kinds of murders are very difficult to solve. My cousin, who is a detective in Sydney, has told me many times about cases like these. Often, it is a lucky break that comes out of the blue (the perp is caught over some other crime, for example) that leads to the resolution of a long-unsolved crime.

The fact that the NPA has set up a cold cases squad is good step, too.

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Rather than complain about the Japanese police, I believe that the reluctance for Japanese society to offer information on crime is the major reason why the odds are stacked against the police.

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I know many decent hard-working police officers in Japan and they do not lack motivation.

I had a police officer as a student a few years back. Funny guy; he was supposed to be a pretty good marksman. His most memorable quote: "I hate criminals."

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memorable quote: "I hate criminals."

Did he say afterward, "because they make me work" ???

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most memorable quote: "I hate criminals.

almost Dirty Harry-esqe

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Call in Clarice! Surely they have someone like that? And do a Crimewatch type progam on TV.

The last resort will surely be a clairvoyant...

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Is there any stats on J-cops solve rates strictly through police work, rather than the criminals simply turning themselves in?

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Odds are certainly stacked against them, but I nonetheless hope that they're successful in finding these evil men. The brutality of these crimes, particularly the Shimane murder, is not something that anyone wants to see repeated, and the best way to avoid that is to catch the men responsible.

I'm glad to see they're investigating hardcore horror movie rentals in the Shimane case. While 99.9% of horror fans are perfectly normal people who happen to have a screwy sense of what constitutes entertainment (sorry, I just don't get it!), the remaining 0.1% are wildcards. There's no guarantee that this line of investigation is going to lead anywhere, but at least it's SOMETHING.

What they do lack, in my opinion, is imagination and intuitive reasoning, which can be a good starting pointing in investigations like these. You imagine what might have happened and see if the facts bear the theory out.

YES. Thank you, smartacus! While the average, run-of-the-mill beat cop who spends his day directing traffic or giving tickets to cyclists might lack motivation (and really, who wouldn't after a steady diet of that?), anyone involved in the actual investigation of crimes like these -- especially detectives -- do not lack motivation to solve the case. You don't become an investigator because of the pay or the hours; you do it because it's something you're good at, or because you love solving puzzles, or because you have a zeal for justice and an idealistic streak a mile wide.

That's why I agree with you that what the Jcops may lack is the imagination and critical thinking needed to solve something as brutal as these murders. You can't come at it from the standpoint that the criminals involved function on the same level as your average dimestore thief or chronic drug user. There's something wrong with these men's brains, and that requires new ways of thinking. I'm sure there are J-detectives who have the faculties to see through the killer's eyes (so to speak), but I couldn't say how many. The Japanese school system doesn't teach abstract thought, so where would they even learn those skills?

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I believe they at least have a picture of the guy who murdered the girl in Chiba as he was using the ATM.The Shimane case is fraught with problems but is the more chilling.I hope the police get a break before there is a repeat..I doubt this psycho will be satisfied for long.

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Osakdaz, I think you are correct.

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