YOKOHAMA – An 18-year-old youth arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing a 13-year-old boy along the Tama River in Kawasaki has admitted to his role in the slaying, saying he used a box cutter to kill the boy, investigative sources said Monday.
Two 17-year-old boys also arrested in connection with the killing have told the police that the 18-year-old, the alleged leader of their group, murdered Ryota Uemura on Feb. 20, the sources said.
Until Sunday, the 18-year-old had said he would not speak about what happened on that day. The names of all three suspects are being withheld because they are minors.
The main suspect appears to have been overcome with remorse, telling investigators, “There is no mending what I did,” the sources said.
He also said he made Uemura swim in the river just before the killing, according to the sources.
The other two youths also attacked the victim with a box cutter, the sources said, quoting the main suspect. It was unclear whether they used different box cutters or shared one between them.
The 18-year-old suspect apologized to the victim in January after severely beating him, as the victim’s friends had demanded an apology, the sources said. The police quoted the suspect as saying he was upset because Uemura had told his friends about the beating.
The investigation sources said that the suspect was angered at being forced to apologize and that it possibly led him to kill Uemura.
The suspect forced the victim to sit up straight in January after telling him he was impertinent and then severely assaulted him, according to a source who knows both teenagers. The suspect may have lashed out like this because Uemura had told his friends that he wanted to stop hanging around with the 18-year-old.
One of Uemura’s friends who demanded the apology said Uemura had bruises on his face when they later happened to meet. Asked what happened, Uemura mentioned the 18-year-old suspect’s name.
Uemura was on his way to see the suspect, so the friends went along with him and asked the suspect why he beat up the younger boy. The suspect apologized to him and said he would never assault him again.
A friend of the suspect said the 18-year-old was angry that Uemura divulged his name and that he was forced to apologize over the assault.
The investigators have this information and are interviewing more acquaintances of the suspects and the victim.
The father of the main suspect emerged from his house on Monday morning.
Appearing exhausted, he told reporters only that everything had been left in the hands of a lawyer representing his son.