Japan’s Top Court Apologizes for Loss of 1997 Murder Case Records

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Shinya Onodera, head of Supreme Court’s general affairs bureau, speaks at a press conference on Thursday afternoon in Tokyo.

The Supreme Court apologized Thursday for discarding records relating to a number of serious incidents including a 1997 case in which children in Kobe were attacked or murdered.

The issue was due to the court’s inappropriate handling of the documents, a top court official said.

The lost records are believed to have covered a wide range of material, including statements made by and psychiatric evaluation reports on the juvenile offender in the 1997 case, then 14.

In October 2022, it was found that the Kobe Family Court had disposed of all records relating to the 1997 case in February 2011. Records related to the 2004 murder of a sixth-grade girl in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, and other cases also were found to have been discarded.