Public prosecutors demanded the death penalty Wednesday for a 25-year-old man who earlier admitted to charges stemming from a mass stabbing in a Tokyo shopping center in 1999.
The prosecutors criticized defendant Hiroshi Zota, saying the crime was a cruel and indiscriminate attack on many people that could be seen as a challenge against humanity and society.
The prosecutors added that the incident caused serious societal unease. “The motive was simplistic and selfish,” one of the prosecutors said.
Zota has been charged with fatally stabbing two people and wounding six others at a crowded shopping center near JR Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward on Sept. 8, 1999.
After being abandoned by his parents, dropping out of senior high school and changing jobs frequently, Zota had built up anger against society and was determined to commit a crime, the prosecutors said.
The prosecutors concluded that only a sentence of capital punishment would be appropriate, noting that the defendant did not show remorse. They said the attack was premeditated because Zota had prepared weapons beforehand. Zota randomly attacked passersby with a kitchen knife and a hammer, killing Kazuko Sumiyoshi, 66, of Tokyo’s Adachi Ward, and Mami Takahashi, 29, of Tokyo’s Nerima Ward.
The former newspaper delivery man from Okayama Prefecture admitted the charges and told investigators he was irritated because he was unemployed and did not care who he stabbed.
Zota’s lawyers, however, said the defendant was either criminally irresponsible or partially irresponsible at the time of the incident.
Psychiatric examination presented to the Tokyo District Court showed that Zota suffered from a personality disorder, but was criminally culpable considering his preparation by purchasing weapons.
The Penal Code stipulates that a defendant must be acquitted if the person is mentally incapable and any penalty must be reduced if the person is partially incapable.
Observing in the court, Seiya Miyazono, 67, father of Takahashi said he felt relieved because the prosecutors demanded what he had expected. Zota did not appear to show any remorse.
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