Warning: This case contained some of the most heinous and inhumane acts committed by four boys, and it is strongly recommended to read with caution for those who can not handle extreme violence.
“When we think of the past it’s the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.”
― Margaret Atwood
This is the first article in a series of articles in which I will be discussing some of the most heinous crimes in the history of mankind, including cases from all around the world. Today, let’s look into the case of Junko Furuta, a 17-year-old girl who was cheerful, polite, hardworking, and had a whole future ahead of her. However, on the fatal night of 25th November 1988 just months before graduation, everything changed.
It is a case that will leave you with strong feelings of disgust and hatred but let’s not forget that it’s easier to choose the path of hate than of love. Hatred & Malice eats aways the human in us. This case should be a reminder of Junko’s strong will, cheerfulness, politeness, endurance, & strength.
Who was Junko Furuta?
Junko Furuta was a 17-year-old Japanese high-school student who was also working part-time. Junko had decided the path she wanted to go on after graduation and as any hard-working and goal-oriented student, she managed to excel in her school as well as her part-time job. She had been described as a polite, caring, & hard-working person. Due to her nature & beauty, she was quite popular amongst her peers.
Who were the culprits?
- Miyano Hiroshi – Miyano was the oldest amongst the four and the leader of the group. Due to his connections to the Yakuza, at the time, the most feared mafia organization, he was able to commit numerous crimes including theft, fraud, assault, rape, and murder without any fear, and all this led him to become the leader of his group. With time, he became so brutal that he started abusing his mother and with his parents being afraid of him, there was absolutely no one who could have stopped him. No one took any action against this young teenager and ultimately he ended up becoming a monster.
- Jo Kamisaku – Kamisaku was a year younger than Miyano and was living with his mother and sister as his parents had separated when he was young. He was not very good at studies, however, he was quite good at sports. His behaviors didn’t raise any red flags. For him, everything went downhill when he met with an accident and couldn’t play sports anymore. His life took a turn for the worst and from that day, it was a life filled with sinful acts. Also, he changed his name from Ogura to Kamisaku.
- Minato Nobuharu – Minato showed signs of bad behavior ever since he was in primary school, from shoplifting to fraud. With time, he started committing all sorts of criminal activity and all this combined with the bad company led him to turn into a full-fledged criminal at such a young age. He had changed his first name to Shinji.
- Watanabe Yasushi – Watanabe was also a child of a broken marriage, he was living with his mother and sister and his father had died in an accident soon after their parent’s divorce. He was initially enrolled in a night school, however, studies were the least of his interests and soon, joined a company that motivated his criminal behavior. He was later placed under probation for domestic violence.
There is no way possible to tell the tale of Junko Furuta without causing extreme heartache although, here is an attempt to remind the world of Junko, a girl who became the victim of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
On the evening of 25th November 1988, Junko was going back home from her part-time job at a plastic molding factory. On her way back home, she was spotted by Miyano who told Minato to go and kick her bicycle. After Minato had kicked her off her bicycle and ran away, Miyano entered the scene and consoled Junko by stating that “That one’s crazy; I’ve been threatened by him with a knife a short time ago. You may still be in danger. Let me walk you home”. Unbeknownst of his intentions, Junko agreed. On their way, Miyano dropped his act and said, “I’m his mate and we are both yakuza. If you obey me, I will spare your life. Let me have sex with you; if you scream you’re dead.” After this, Miyano raped Junko near a warehouse and later, took her to the hotel where he raped her again.
Later that night, Miyano contacted Minato and bragged about raping Junko. After that, all of them decided to abduct and imprison her and keep her as their “sex slave”. At the park where they all met before heading to her last destination, they threatened Junko that they would kill her and her family if she didn’t obey them. Scared for her life, she decided to do as they say. She was then taken to Minato’s house where she spends the remainder of her life, fighting, struggling, in pain, and finally, succumbing to her injuries and getting free from the evil of this world.
Note that in this article, I do not wish to discuss each and every single atrocity and brutality that Junko had to go through during her ordeal. Those who are interested can click on any of the following links:
During her imprisonment, Junko was a victim of extreme hostility, brutality, and inhuman actions. She had been beaten, molested, neglected, gang-raped countless times during those 44 days of hell. During her last few days, she had lost all bladder and bowel control, lost all strength, and was completely immobile.
On the 4th of January 1989, Junko was beaten, kicked, and assaulted by the offenders. When finished beating her, they covered her eyes with candle wax. During sometime her beating, Junko fell and hit her head and her body started twitching. Even after all this, the boys did not stop and continued hitting her numerous times. After this torture, the boys left to go to the sauna and there Junko lied on the floor, unresponsive.
It is believed that Junko died sometime on the 4th of January. She had finally succumbed to her injuries. (May she rest in peace.)
When the boys returned, they found Junko lying on the floor unresponsive and dead. So, the boys decided to get rid of her body, they brought a drum and cement from Miyano’s former employer. They placed the body in the drum and pour liquid cement all over Junko’s body.
On the 23rd of January 1989, Miyano and Kamisaku were arrested for the rape of another 19-year-old girl. On 19th March, the boys were being interrogated and during the interrogation, Miyano by mistake confessed by saying, “I am sorry that we killed”. The officers were shocked by the confession as they were just trying to trick Miyano and couldn’t believe that he would confess. After the confession, the officers went to the place described and there they found Junko’s body encased in concrete and after two months, badly decomposed.
Junko’s funeral was conducted on the 2nd of April 1989 and if she hadn’t decided to go to school or work that day, on the 25th of November 1988, she would have joined her new job from the 3rd of April 1989, the very next day of her funeral.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CULPRITS?
According to the law, the identities of the boys were not to be disclosed as they were juvenile, however, when the word got out about what they had done to Junko, some media outlets decided that it would be fair to release their identities to their world.
- Miyano Hiroshi – He was given the sentence of just 20 years and in 2009, he was released from prison. He was arrested again in 2013 for committing fraud, however, due to lack of evidence he was released again.
- Jo Kamisaku – He was given a sentence of 5 to a 10-year term. He was released in 1999, he then married and divorced a Chinese. Later, in 2004 he again committed numerous criminal acts and given a sentence of 4 years. It was reported that Kamisaku’s mother vandalized Junko’s grave “because she ruined her son’s life”.
- Minato Nobuharu – He was given a sentence of 5 to a 9-year term. Not much is known about Minato, however, it is believed that he married a Romanian after his release. Unshockingly, he has been in the news quite recently for suspicion of attempted murder.
- Watanabe Yasushi – He was also given a mere sentence of 5 to a 7-year term. It is believed that ever since his release, he has been staying with his mother.
JAPANESE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
At the time of the crime, the culprits were juvenile and according to the juvenile law, the boys could not be treated as adults and that meant lenient sentences. The Japanese juvenile law aimed at providing juvenile criminals a chance at rehabilitation and ensuring that they can go join the society after serving their sentence, however, that is not always the case. Some people are so psychologically evil that sending them out in society is just a big mistake.
There have been numerous examples of such a mistake, however, the justice department hasn’t taken any big steps towards amending their system and as a result, innocent people are paying the price, till date.
JUNKO WAS DEARLY LOVED AND MISSED.
One of Junko’s friends’ memorial address:
Jun-chan, welcome back. I have never dreamed that we would see you again in this way. You must have been in so much pain… so much suffering… The happi we all made for the school festival looked really good on you. We will never forget you. I have heard that the headmaster has presented you with a graduation certificate. So we graduated together – all of us. Jun-chan, there is no more pain, no more suffering. Please rest in peace…
All these four boys had a history of committing crimes. They had become so notorious and evil that even their parents were afraid of their actions and decided to look the other way.
And when I read about this case, I often wonder what would have happened if their parents had said something or did something other than looking away? If anyone would have done something against such “young” boys then Junko would have been still alive.
There could be no guaranteed answer to why all these four culprits committed such actions at such a young age, however, one thing can be answered with a guarantee and i.e., that the justice department and the government should learn from such a mistake and make necessary changes in their legal system. Not only in Japan but many other nations all around the world are responsible for not amending their relaxed juvenile laws and as a result, risking the lives of countless people.
And finally, as a law student I do want to state that ‘I am outraged’ by the fact that these offenders were allowed to go back to the society after committing such a horrible and inhumane act.