The shocking murder of 13 year old Uemura Ryota, whose corpse was found abandoned at bank of the Tamagawa River has dominated the news over the past few days. The perpetrator is still at large.
This article discusses recent police evidence that Uemura had been slashed with multiple knives, and tied up with cable ties so that he was unable to resist. There is also some suggestion that Uemura had been subjected to merciless bullying by a high-school gang in the period leading up to his death, the implication being that his murderer may well have been an older child. And there are already rumors to this effect circulating on Twitter, including pictures of the alleged killer.
Netizens are truly horrified by the murder, with claiming that it is now time to revise Japan’s controversial Juvenile Law which means that minors are usually not tried in a criminal court, have their identities protected by law, and are not subject to the harsher punishments that can be handed down — including the death penalty.
From Yahoo! Japan:
Kawasaki Middle School Murder: Were Multiple Knives Used? Was Victim Prevented From Resisting Through Use Of Cable Ties?
On February 23 it was discovered in an interview with Kangawa Prefectural Police that in the incident involving the murder and disposal of the corpse of Uemura Ryota (13), the first year middle school student from Kawasaki Ward, Kawasaki City, whose body was discovered beside the Tamagawa River (also Kawasaki Ward, Kawasaki City), that police are working under the assumption that Uemura had been killed with multiple knives.
According to an investigation spokesperson, the multiple puncture wounds and cuts that were found on Uemura’s neck were of a depth of a few centimeters, but there were also some that almost reached the carotid artery. Since the blade of a cutter knife covered in blood that had been discovered near the scene does not correlate with the shape of the wounds, there is apparently a high probability that multiple knives were used.
The investigation so far has revealed that Uemura had wounds from the back of his neck around to the side caused by being stabbed and cut with a sharp blade multiple times, and there were also wounds on his face and arm. The cause of death was from shock through loss of blood from the wounds on Uemura’s neck.
There were several cuts on Uemura’s arms; however, as well as discovering that there were no “defense wounds” on his palms that are caused when victims resist, cut-up cable ties that are used to secure luggage and cables were discovered close to the scene. Therefore police are considering the possibility that Uemura was in a position where he was unable to resist when he was murdered.
Moreover, Uemura’s family have confirmed that remnants of a pair of shoes discovered in the charred rubble from a small fire that broke out at around 3pm on February 20 at a public toilet in a park separated by a distance of around 700 meters south-east of the site where Uemura’s corpse was discovered, were in fact the same brand as the shoes Uemura had been wearing. The investigation headquarters are looking at whether perpetrator had planned this in an attempt to destroy evidence of the murder.
Comments from Yahoo! Japan:
Depending on the age of the perpetrator at the time the crime was committed, they might be protected by both the Penal Code and the Juvenile Law. If the perpetrator was under 14 years of age, then under the stipulations of the Penal Code criminal liability cannot be imposed, therefore they cannot even be arrested.
If they are between 14 and 19 years of age, then arrest is possible, but according to the stipulations set out in the Juvenile Law, their protection is prioritized through a trial that is carried out in a family court rather than a criminal court.
However, this is a murder inquiry, so if the perpetrator is over 16 years of age, the precedent is for the case to be referred to the prosecutor’s office by the family court under the supposition that the perpetrator will be punished, and the prosecutor can charge them in fundamentally the same way as they could an adult. Still, if the perpetrator was under 18 years old at the time the crime was committed, then according to what is set out in the Juvenile Law, they cannot be tried for the death penalty.
On the other hand, no matter what the age of the victim, they are not protected. The police and those involved in legal institutions can only move according to the letter of the law, and the debate over what should be done about these laws falls to the Diet, and then to the Japanese people. To all those who read this news, this is an issue I’d really like each of you to think about.
Horrible, just too horrible.
If this is a crime committed by a juvenile, then the perpetrator will be protected by law, right?
A revision of the Juvenile Law is required.
The victim was a child so this is really serious…can’t they arrest the perpetrator quickly…When I think that this bloodthirsty killer is still roaming the streets I’m really scared.
If the one who did this is a child living in a family with his parents then I hope they make him turn himself in.
Why do people do this…
It’s just too awful.
Whoever did this is never going to be able to change their ways, better to dispose of them altogether.
The person who by rights should be protected was murdered, and the murderer is protected. No matter which way you think of it, it’s crazy.
Doesn’t seem like the Juvenile Law really protects minors at all.
In another news article, I saw that the victim had got caught up with a high school gang and was too scared to even return home.
I wonder if a normal (delinquent) high school student would go so far as to do that to a first year middle schooler.
This just doesn’t seem like something that could happen in Japan.
Right now, I think that the Juvenile Law is an awful law that only prompts people to think “Oh well let’s do all our bad stuff before we get to the age of 20”. Why don’t we ever see it brought up in the Diet that this law absolutely has to be revised?
We don’t need the Juvenile Law.
From the details of this incident, whoever did it should be tried as an adult.
Well, nowadays even if the perpetrator is protected by law, information leaks out regardless, so
I suppose in a certain sense he could be tried online.
Woah, young people today are really something.
It might be because I live in the countryside, but 20 years ago, when I was a middle school student, to be “bad” was smoking and stuff, and then when I was in high school it was to ride your seniors’ motorbikes or whatever, stuff like that～
Now, it’s got to the stage where if you rub someone up the wrong way you get killed.
The kids who gather in the park in my neighborhood are cute.
Well, no matter what the reason, murder is always bad. I don’t suppose the reason they killed him was all that big of a deal.
It’s so painful to think that at only 13 this kid’s life was made a living hell.
So far not a single person has turned themselves in.
What must the perpetrator’s parents be thinking?
Seems like the time to call for revision of the Juvenile Law has come, right?
Uemura’s group of school friends are already known to the police, so I bet they’ve already found the criminal.
The police shouldn’t be waiting around for graduations and university entrance exams, I wish they would arrest the person immediately.
His friend has testified that Uemura was being targeted by a delinquent group and was experiencing violence at their hands on a daily basis. This clearly went beyond bullying — it was criminal assault. Apparently quite often he wasn’t even able to go to school or go home. There is no way his parents wouldn’t have noticed this. I wonder why they were unable to protect him? Parents are the people who are most able to protect their own children.
This is just so horrible. Arrest the criminal ASAP.
And even if the criminal turns out to be a minor, I hope they’d don’t apply the Juvenile Law.
It’s a real mystery that neither his parents nor the school did anything about it.
This isn’t a problem about the Juvenile Law and so on.
Seems somehow that the person who should be protected is not the person this law protects.
The don’t need to revise it, they need to abolish it.