Prosecutors to Try to Prove Guilt in Retrial of Hakamata

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Iwao Hakamata

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Public prosecutors decided Monday to try to prove the guilt of Iwao Hakamata, 87, in his retrial for the 1966 murder of four members of a family in Shizuoka Prefecture.

The decision is expected to prolong the retrial, while the defense is seeking an early acquittal for Hakamata, who has been sentenced to death.

The prosecution is believed to have concluded that it is possible to prove Hakamata’s guilt, after hearing expert opinions again and reviewing evidence from the time of the incident.

In March, the Tokyo High Court granted Hakamata a retrial after accepting the results of an experiment carried out by the defense side on the evidence used against him.

The evidence used to convict Hakamata included five pieces of clothing with bloodstains found in a miso tank near the murder site about 14 months after the incident.

While a reddish color remained in the bloodstains, the high court accepted the defense’s experiment showing that a reddish color in bloodstains on clothing disappears if the fabric is dipped in miso for over a year.

The high court dismissed the prosecution’s claim that the bloodstains could remain reddish as “abstract and not based on chemical grounds.” It even raised the possibility that investigators had fabricated the evidence.