It was the murder of university student Shiori Ino that led to the ratification of the Anti-Stalking Act in 2000. At the time, many felt the legislation didn’t go far enough to protect victims of stalking. More than two decades on, and that feeling remains despite various revisions to the law. Calls for further amendments grew louder this week following the murder of Miki Kawano, 38, in Fukuoka Prefecture. Last year, she consulted with the police on multiple occasions, claiming her ex had been following her.
Another high-profile crime in the past few days took place in Makinohara, Shizuoka Prefecture. A 13-year-old girl admitted to fatally stabbing her mother, allegedly over a disagreement about a cellphone. In Hiroshima, death row inmate Miyuki Ueta passed away after choking on her dinner. The Tokyo High Court acquitted three former Tepco executives over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. And former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev suggested Japanese PM Fumio Kishida should disembowel himself. In sport, a petition to save the iconic Meiji Jingu Stadium was presented to the Tokyo governor.
Man Arrested for the Murder of Ex-Girlfriend in Fukuoka
A 31-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend. The attack took place at around 6:15pm on Monday near Hakata Station in Fukuoka Prefecture. Miki Kawano, who was due to celebrate her 39th birthday on January 18, was seen leaving her office before quarrelling with the alleged assailant, 31-year-old Susumu Terauchi. She was then stabbed more than 10 times. The criminal, who fled the scene with a kitchen knife that he put in a bag, confessed to the crime.
The police issued a warning against Terauchi last October. This was after Kawano claimed she was accosted and followed by the restaurant worker on several occasions. He was later banned from approaching her based on the anti-stalking act. Under the law, perpetrators can be warned by the police and issued with prohibition orders. If the stalking persists after that, they could be arrested. The maximum penalty is two years imprisonment or a fine of up to ¥2 million.
Teenage Girl Admits to Killing Mother
A 13-year-old girl has reportedly admitted to killing her mother in Makinohara, Shizuoka Prefecture. The police are investigating the circumstances in more detail after a woman in her 40s was found dead in her home with multiple stab wounds, including to her neck. Another family member called the emergency services at around 11:50pm on Monday night. The victim was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead less than two hours later.
According to NHK, the teenage girl told the police she had some trouble with her mother over a smartphone. Her case will be referred to a child consultation center. Children under the age of 14 who have violated the penal code in this country are considered “juvenile delinquents” and, therefore, not held criminally responsible for their crimes. In serious cases, however, a prefectural governor or child consultation director can refer the assailant to a family court which will then take over proceedings.
Death Row Prisoner Dies After Choking on Food
A Japanese death row inmate died on Saturday after choking on her dinner. Miyuki Ueta, 49, lost consciousness while eating a meal at around 4:20pm on January 14. Staff at the Hiroshima Detention House attempted to remove the food from her mouth but were unsuccessful. She was confirmed dead at around 6:55pm. Ueta had been transported to the hospital four days earlier after collapsing during another meal.
A suspected serial killer, Ueta was convicted of two murders in Tottori Prefecture in 2009, though police believe she was likely responsible for four others as well. After being arrested for defrauding a woman of ¥1.26 million, authorities noticed that six men the snack hostess had dated died under mysterious circumstances. Prosecutors relied on circumstantial evidence and on December 4, 2012, Ueta became the second female defendant after Kanae Kijima to be sentenced to death in a saiban-in (lay judges) trial.
Former Tepco Executives Acquitted of Negligence for Nuclear Accident
The Tokyo High Court upheld an acquittal of three former Tepco executives on Wednesday, a verdict that was met with anger from a crowd of people waiting outside. Tsunehisa Katsumata, 82, Ichiro Takekuro, 76, and Sakae Muto, 72, received mandatory indictments in 2016 on charges of criminal negligence resulting in deaths and injuries related to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. In 2019, the Tokyo District Court found the defendants not guilty. This led to an appeal which was dismissed this week by Judge Keisuke Hosoda.
Designated lawyers acting as prosecutors demanded five years in prison for the three men. They argued that the company’s own experts had concluded in 2008 that a tsunami wave as high as 15.7 meters could overwhelm the plant’s seawall. The judge, however, agreed with the defense lawyers who asserted that they couldn’t have anticipated such an event. In a separate civil lawsuit in July 2022, the Tokyo District Court ordered the three men, plus another executive, to pay ¥13.32 trillion for failing to prevent the disaster.
Ex-Russian President Says Kishida Should Disembowel Himself
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev released a Telegram post on Saturday, suggesting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida should disembowel himself. His comments were in response to a joint statement given by Kishida and American President Joe Biden, in which the two leaders said that “any use of a nuclear weapon by Russia in Ukraine would be an act of hostility against humanity and unjustifiable in any way.”
Medvedev, who currently serves as the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, claimed that Kishida was “betraying the memory of hundreds of thousands of Japanese who were burned in the nuclear fire of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” by becoming “an attendant” for America. He added that such shame could only be washed away by “performing hara-kiri” in front of his cabinet. A prominent ally of Vladimir Putin, Medvedev previously referred to Ukrainians as “cockroaches,” in language Kyiv described as openly genocidal.
Petition to Save Iconic Baseball Stadium
On Tuesday, author Robert Whiting presented a petition with almost 10,000 signatures to Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike in an attempt to save the Meiji Jingu Stadium, which is set to be demolished and rebuilt as part of a massive redevelopment project involving skyscrapers, hotels and a new rugby ground. The iconic baseball venue hosted the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig during an American tour of Japan in 1934. It also inspired Haruki Murakami to become a novelist.
In other sporting news, Takefusa Kubo struck as Real Sociedad defeated Athletic Bilbao 3-1 in Saturday’s Basque derby. Over in Scotland, Kyogo Furuhashi bagged a brace in Celtic’s 4-0 thumping of St Mirren. Earlier in the week, teammate Daizen Maeda scored in the Hoops’ 2-0 Viaplay Cup semi-final victory over Kilmarnock. In women’s soccer, Mana Iwabuchi sealed a loan move from Arsenal to North London rivals Tottenham. And in tennis, Yoshihito Nishioka advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over America’s Mackenzie McDonald. It’s his best showing at a Grand Slam event.