Tokyo-Osaka shinkansen killer gets his wish - a life sentence
Japan Times -- Dec 19
A court Wednesday sentenced a man to life in prison over a random knife attack aboard a shinkansen last year that killed one passenger and injured two others.

Ichiro Kojima, 23, had admitted to the charges of murdering 38-year-old Kotaro Umeda and attempting to kill the two women during his trial at the Odawara branch of the Yokohama District Court in Kanagawa Prefecture.

“(The accused) has shown no remorse and he cannot avoid harsh condemnation. It is reasonable to have him reflect on his criminal responsibility while serving (life) in a prison,” said presiding Judge Yuki Sawaki when handing down the sentence.

The ruling was in line with the request of prosecutors, who did not seek the death penalty in consideration of Kojima’s personality disorder.

The accused underwent a psychiatric examination before his indictment and was diagnosed with the disorder, although prosecutors determined that he was fit to face a criminal trial.

Prosecutors insisted the accused “committed a brutal random killing based on a selfish desire to spend the rest of his life in prison.”

“I did it with the intent to kill,” Kojima had said in the first court hearing in his lay judge trial. At the time, prosecutors said Kojima had found it too difficult to live on his own and “wanted to go to prison” as he had been homeless and sleeping outdoors.

無期懲役の判決が言い渡された後、被告の男は「万歳」をしました。東海道新幹線の車内で乗客の男女3人が殺傷された事件の裁判、法廷は異様な光景となりました。  去年、東海道新幹線の満席の車内で男性を殺害し、女性2人にけがをさせたとして殺人などの罪に問われていた小島一朗被告(23)。今回の裁判では、被告が凶器を用意するなど計画的に準備を進め、3人を殺傷した事実関係では検察と被告の弁護側に争いはありませんでした。  焦点は罪の重さ。検察側は「反省の態度はみじんもなく、一生、刑務所で暮らしたいという動機に酌量の余地はない」とする一方、弁護側は「過剰に重い刑を科すことは適切ではない」と公平公正な判断を求めていました。  判決が言い渡された際、証言台の前にいた小島被告は無表情で静かに聞いていたといいます。ところが、裁判長から席に戻るように言われると被告の態度が一変します。  小島一朗被告:「控訴はしません。万歳三唱します。万歳、万歳、万歳」  立ち上がって1人で万歳三唱する小島被告の声は、法廷の外にまで響くほど大きかったそうです。裁判長が被告を制止すると素直に自分の席に戻っていきました。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
Apr 01
Calls are growing for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to declare a state of emergency to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus before it is too late. (Japan Times)
Apr 01
Japan is planning to place an entry ban on foreign nationals from an additional 49 countries and territories as the coronavirus pandemic expands. (NHK)
Apr 01
A Japanese government panel says Tokyo would become unable to function as the country's capital in about three hours if a large-scale eruption of Mount Fuji were to occur. (NHK)
Apr 01
Japanese transport minister Akaba Kazuyoshi says public transport will continue to operate even if a state of emergency is declared to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. (NHK)
Mar 31
The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has announced the new dates for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The Games were postponed until next year due to the global coronavirus pandemic. (NHK)
Mar 31
Two persons from Sendai City have been confirmed with the novel coronavirus after meeting with two Assistant Language Teachers (ALT) who also tested positive, reports Kahoku Shimpo (Mar. 30). (tokyoreporter.com)
Mar 31
Japan plans to include in its list of entry denials foreigners arriving from the United States, China and South Korea as well as most parts of Europe and some parts of Southeast Asia as the coronavirus pandemic expands. (NHK)
Mar 31
Japan’s approach to halting the coronavirus pandemic might seem to other nations around the world like it is very social, and not so distant. (Japan Times)
Mar 31
There is no need for the public to panic buy and hoard food even if the government declares a state of emergency as a result of novel coronavirus, retail industry and other experts said. (Japan Times)
Mar 30
Japan confirmed 169 additional coronavirus infections on Sunday, the second largest single-day count following the 200 recorded on the previous day. (NHK)