Politician apologizes for saying serial killer was heavily influenced by anime
Japan Today -- Nov 13
On Oct 31, Takahiro Shiraishi was arrested after nine bodies were discovered in his apartment in the town of Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, where the 27-year-old had been living since August. The authorities also found a saw, which Shiraishi admits to using in dismembering the bodies after killing his victims in order to make their remains easier to dispose of.

The incident has sent shockwaves through ordinarily peaceful and safe Japanese society, and has become a major talking point in the mass media. While appearing on broadcaster Fuji TV’s "Shin Hodo 2001" talk show, politician Ichita Yamamoto, a member of Japan’s House of Councilors (the upper house of the National Diet), made the following comment:

“To put it simply, I think [Shiraishi] did this as though he was playing a video game. He’s become unable to differentiate the world of reality from fiction. Recently, there are anime with bizarre, grotesque stories like what he did. I feel he has been heavily influenced by them.”

While some previous serial killers in Japan have been found to be intense anime fans during the course of investigations following their crimes, no connection has been made between Shiraishi and otaku hobbies such as games or animation. The only possible link is an unconfirmed statement from an unidentified woman who claims to be an acquaintance of Shiraishi, and who was interviewed by media organization Bunshunho. When asked what Shiraishi'’s hobbies were, the woman speculated “I think he probably liked to watch anime and stuff. Like 'When They Cry' and 'School Days,'” referring to two series known for their scenes of graphic violence in otherwise mundane settings.

Due to the lack of evidence that Shiraishi was an anime fan or that anime was a contributing factor in the nine deaths, many online commenters have criticized Yamamoto’s remarks as irresponsible. Th politician himself, it turns out, agrees, and has since issued an apology both through his video stream and on his blog

News source: Japan Today
Feb 20
A fighter jet from the US Misawa Airbase in northern Japan developed an engine fire on Tuesday morning and offloaded fuel tanks into a lake. (NHK)
Feb 20
Japan's labor minister has apologized for having provided inaccurate figures to the prime minister in Diet debate on working system reform. (NHK)
Feb 19
Members of the Liberal Democratic Party are proposing that the minimum ages for holding public office be lowered to a uniform 20, it was learned Sunday. (Japan Times)
Feb 17
Demonstrators took to the streets in a dozen cities in Japan on Friday demanding the dismissal of National Tax Agency Commissioner Nobuhisa Sagawa, who is accused of giving false parliamentary testimony over a controversial sale of state land. (Jiji)
Feb 17
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party made progress Friday in its discussions to seek the first-ever amendments to Japan's postwar Constitution, agreeing on the wording of a draft for rewriting an existing article on electoral systems. (Japan Today)
Feb 15
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed during a phone call Wednesday night to continue exerting maximum pressure on North Korea, while reaffirming that the reclusive state must agree to denuclearize before any dialogue can happen. (Nikkei)
Feb 13
The number of people who applied for refugee status in Japan last year reached a record high of 19,628, up 80 percent from the previous year, the Justice Ministry announced Tuesday. (Japan Times)
Feb 13
The Japanese government is poised to put its new guidelines on the management of administrative documents into force in April, in the wake of scandals related to two private school operators. (Jiji)
Feb 12
The U.S. Navy is investigating an alleged drug ring involving a number of sailors based at the 7th Fleet’s headquarters in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, it confirmed Saturday. (Japan Times)
Feb 12
Over 40 pct of Japanese people support a proposed law change to allow married couples to use separate surnames, a Cabinet Office survey released Saturday showed. (Jiji)