With Matt questioning my AvJ theory, I thought I should respond with a crime from Japan.
I present: 女子高生コンクリート詰め殺人事件 (or Concrete-Encased High School Girl murder)
Unfortunately, other than Wikipedia and one recent article in the Japan Times , I wasn’t able to find much on the case, and there wasn’t much citation in the Wikipedia article, so I can only hope all of the facts are correct. Also, as a warning, I do list the graphic brutalities to which the victim, Junko Furuta, was submitted.
This awkwardly named case (and a bit of a spoiler for those unfamiliar with it) shocked Japan nearly twenty years ago. On November 22nd (the day before Japan’s Thanksgiving), three Japanese teenage boys abducted, tortured, and raped the high school aged Jukno Furuta. She was held at one of the teenagers house for the entirety of the hellish ordeal. The three individuals were able to avoid suspicion by forcing Junko to call her parents and tell them she had runaway, but not to worry because she was safe with a friend. Futhermore, Junko posed as girlfriend to one of the teens to avoid questions from the parents of the household. This guise did not last long as Junko eventually pleaded with the parents of the household on several occasions to call the police or help her escape. They ignored these pleas and would go on later to defend their actions by claiming one of the teenagers was supposedly a low-level member of the Yakuza and would have them killed.
Over the course of the next forty-four days the three teens reportedly forced Junko to consume her own urine, to perform sexual acts on herself, burned her with a lighter and cigarettes, and inserted various objects (such as an iron rod and lit fireworks) into her vagina and anus. Finally, on January 4th, following the loss of a mah-jonng game, the teens attacked Junko with a barbell and then proceeded to douse her in lighter fluid and set her ablaze. A few hours later, she died from the shock and was disposed in a concrete filled 55-gallon drum.
As for the aftermath, the details are not completely clear. The teens were not charged with murder, but instead pled guilty to a lesser charge of “committing bodily injury that resulted in death.” While they were charged as adults, the time was served in a juvenile prison, and the one teen whom was considered the leader of the three, Jo Kamisaku, was sentenced to serve between five and ten years. As the Japan Times reported, upon turning twenty six, which was the maximum age for juvenile prison, he was released after serving eight years. I’m unsure about the other two, but one would assume the sentencing was equal if not less.
For Kamisaku, after his release, he kept a relatively low profile, until May of 2004, when he found himself in court again.
“…[P]rosecutors alleged that Kamisaku picked a fight with Takatoshi Isono, a 27-year-old acquaintance, on May 19, beat him, shoved him into the trunk of his car and drove him to a bar in [the city of] Misato owned by his mother, where he beat the victim for another four hours.
Kamisaku had believed that a woman he was attracted to had taken a fancy to Isono, the prosecutors said. (Japan Times)
Prosecutors also reported that he had bragged to Isono that as he had previously killed Junko, he knew how to deal with the police and would avoid being arrested. In court, Kamisaku admitted to beating Isono but denied bragging about Junko. Kamisaku was sentenced to four years in prison.
While it would seem as no surprise that an individual such as Kamisaku would be thrown back into the system, the Japan Times article expresses otherwise:
Experts noted how the 1988 slaying and the latest crime were both cases of confinement and violence at locations linked to the offender. They wondered why eight years behind bars had failed to rehabilitate the defendant.
The article goes on to quote a professor whom states disbelief at the leniency Kamisaku and his two cohorts received. The professor believest had they been adults they ” probably would have been sentenced to death,” (Japan Times). While I easily share this sentiment, it’s hard to comment on the sentencing as it seems ludicrous that there was no public outcry back in ’88, however I was unable to find any mention of it.
Again, my resources were limited, but there were a lot of things not touched upon. For starters, what was the motive for the crime (or wasn’t there one?), did the lenient sentencing bring about changes in the criminal system, what was the general reaction to the case, etc. I suppose for now, the questions will remain unanswered. However, here is a “court document” I came across that is in Japanese, so if anyone can translate it, it could provide a few more answers. Or maybe it’s someone’s grocery list.