Father of 1997 Murder Victim Blasts Court’s Record Disposal

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Supreme Court

KOBE (Jiji Press) — Mamoru Hase, the father of a boy killed in the 1997 serial attacks on children in Kobe, has criticized a family court’s disposal of all records concerning the high-profile case.

The court discarded the records despite a bylaw decided by the Supreme Court stipulating permanent conservation of records on high-profile cases, Hase noted.

Such an act “does not occur at an ordinary organization,” Hase, 67, said in a statement. “This is totally unacceptable.”

Wednesday marked the 26th year since his son, Jun, then 11 years old, was murdered in Kobe’s Suma Ward. The attacker, a third-grade male junior high school student, was arrested later.

Last year, the Kobe Family Court was found to have disposed of all related records.

The Juveniles Law at the time banned access to records concerning cases committed by juveniles. Hase’s demand for seeing the records was thus rejected in his negotiations with the family court.

The disposal deprived the father of an opportunity to see a written ruling or other related documents.

“The act ignores feelings of bereaved family members,” he said. “Thorough investigations and the establishment of record preservation procedures are important.”

Since the man who killed Jun was provisionally released from a medical juvenile reformatory in 2004, he sent letters ahead of the anniversary of Jun’s death every year. But no such letter has come since 2018.

“We keep seeking a convincing answer to a question why our second son had to lose his life,” the father said. “The man has an obligation to reply to the question.”

In the cases, five elementary school children were attacked between February and May 1997. Two of them — a fourth-grade girl, Ayaka Yamashita, then 10, and Jun — were murdered.

The 14-year-old offender was sent to the medical reformatory after being arrested. He left the facility in 2005 and got back into society.