Grief, outrage pour forthat slain schoolgirl’s funeral

Kyodo

A funeral was held Friday for a 7-year-old girl who was murdered in Hiroshima earlier this week on her way home from school.

While her family grieved, others expressed shock and outrage at her slaying.

About 300 people, including teachers, attended the funeral for Airi Kinoshita, a first-grade student at a municipal elementary school in Hiroshima.

The mourners included Ground Self-Defense Force members who serve with Airi’s father, 38-year-old Kenichi.

“I was deeply shocked when I was told by police that she was probably murdered,” Kenichi said in an address during the funeral.

“I feel animosity toward the person who committed the crime. I hope the culprit is caught soon.”

The funeral was held in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto Prefecture, Kenichi’s hometown.

Airi was found Tuesday inside a cardboard carton wrapped in tape in an empty lot in Hiroshima’s Aki Ward. In Hiroshima, police said Friday that the box had been used as packaging for a stove sold at a discount store in Higashi Hiroshima, adding that about 20 stoves had been sold in the two months since October. Investigators are trying to identify the people who had bought the stoves, using store records.

Police believe the killer may have removed the crime prevention buzzer that Airi usually carried with her, because it is missing.