Girl apologizes to victim’s family

Internet messages cited as sole reason for fatal slashing

Kyodo

The 11-year-old girl who killed a classmate at Okubo Elementary School on Tuesday has apologized to the victim’s family and her own parents, her lawyers said.

The girl, whose identity is being withheld because she is a minor, told lawyers at a closed meeting Thursday that she killed 12-year-old Satomi Mitarai because she had written derogatory messages about her on an Internet bulletin board.

There was nothing apart from the bulletin board messages that had irked her about Mitarai, the lawyers quoted her as saying at a news conference held at the Nagasaki Juvenile Classification Home after the meeting.

The girl spoke calmly at the meeting, the lawyers said.

Asked whether she had told anyone about her trouble with the messages, she was quoted as saying she “suffered in anguish and thought alone.”

When asked what she thought of her actions now, she replied: “I wonder why I did it. If I had acted after thinking things through, this would not have happened.”

The child also said she wanted to apologize to Mitarai and to her own parents for the incident, the lawyers said.

The girl said she, the victim, and a third girl began exchanging messages on the Internet from around April, about a month or so after they began writing in a common diary shared among four or five children.

The antagonistic exchanges between herself and Mitarai began around mid-May, she said.

The lawyers added that they would not request any psychiatric testing for the girl, saying she appeared to be “perfectly normal.”

According to investigative sources, the girl said she decided to attack the victim several days beforehand and used her hands to cover the victim’s eyes during the attack.

“I tried to blindfold her with a towel, but she refused, so I did it with my hands,” the sources quoted her as telling investigators.

The girl said she had asked Mitarai not to write messages about her appearance, but that the victim continued writing them anyway several days before the attack, the sources said.

Police are asking her parents whether she exhibited any suspicious behavior before the incident, they said.

As classes resumed Thursday morning, about a third of the students arrived with their parents, school officials said. Some of them went to meet with the school counselor, Principal Eiko Dezaki was greeting students at the gate as they arrived.

“I do not know what I will be able to tell the girl (who allegedly killed the victim),” Dezaki said. “But I want to meet both her and her parents.”

The lawyers went to interview the girl after the child consultation office in Sasebo sent her case to the Nagasaki Family Court’s Sasebo branch on Wednesday.

The family court will decide whether to hold a juvenile trial after looking into the causes and background of the incident.