The key clue that led to the apprehension of a 12-year-old Nagasaki junior high school student for the July 1 murder of a 4-year-old boy was the image captured by a shopping arcade security camera of the youth walking with the victim near the scene of the slaying.

The camera was one of 18 the Hamaichi Arcade shopkeeper union installed June 9 to provide 24-hour surveillance of the 360-meter shopping street in a bid to curb nighttime violence, crime and vandalism. The union's main reason for shelling out around 4 million yen for the video monitors was to discourage potential offenders.

When police investigating the slaying of Shun Tanemoto, who had apparently been abducted, asked to view what the cameras recorded on the night of the slaying, the union turned over the images in DVD form, said Naohide Tanaka, chairman of the shopkeeper group.