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OSAKA — Prosecutors demanded life in prison Thursday for a 21-year-old man accused of fatally stabbing a girl and wounding two others on the street in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, in 1998.

During the day’s session at the Sakai branch of the Osaka District Court, prosecutors said the man can be held fully responsible for what he had done, brushing aside an expert opinion that his mental faculties were impaired because he had inhaled thinner.

The name of the accused has been withheld under the Juvenile Law because he was a minor when the crime was committed in January 1998.

According to prosecutors, the man stabbed Kana Okuni, 5, her 37-year-old mother and another person on the street in Sakai on the morning of Jan. 7. The girl died, and the two others suffered serious injuries.

It was later learned that the defendant had inhaled a large amount of thinner the previous night.

After his arrest, prosecutors carried out a summary assessment of the man’s mental state that determined he can be held criminally liable for the attack.

But an analysis by a court-appointed expert showed the consumption of thinner had caused him to suffer a mental disorder, thus substantially damaging, although not destroying, his ability to tell right from wrong.

During the day’s session, prosecutors pointed out that the man assaulted weak targets like women and children, and stabbed them in the heart and lungs. He also remembered details about how he attacked the victims, they added.

“It was a heinous, indiscriminate crime committed by a drug addict, which caused fear and uncertainty among citizens,” a prosecutor told the court as he demanded life imprisonment.

The case also stirred controversy over the current rule to keep the identity of minors accused of serious crimes secret.

After a monthly magazine ran an article on the case carrying the man’s name and photo, he filed a damages suit against the publisher, Shinchosha, claiming it violated his rights under the Juvenile Law.

In June, the Osaka District Court ordered the publisher to pay 2.5 million yen in damages, and Shinchosha has appealed to the Osaka High Court.

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