• Kyodo


Public prosecutors on Tuesday demanded a life sentence for a 37-year-old man accused of masterminding the fatal stabbing of a 21-year-old female college student in 1999.

Takeshi Komatsu, a former employee with the Tokyo Fire Department, stands accused of the murder and defamation of Shiori Ino, who was stabbed to death in front of a train station in the city of Okegawa, Saitama Prefecture, in October 1999.

In making their demand before the Saitama District Court, prosecutors said the defendant’s claim of not being involved in the murder “cannot possibly be trusted.” They said it was clear he was the leader of the group of men who killed the woman.

“It was a tenacious and heinous crime that required meticulous planning,” prosecutors said, adding that the distribution of posters libeling the woman was also a malicious crime carried out by the group.

According to prosecutors, Komatsu was the older brother of a man Ino had been dating. This man committed suicide by drowning himself in a Hokkaido lake after the woman was murdered.

In July 1999, the defendant allegedly conspired with the 38-year-old former manager of an adult entertainment shop to put up posters libeling the woman around her home.

During a taxi ride around Oct. 14 that year, he is said to have urged the former manager to agree to killing the woman. The murder was carried out Oct. 26, and the former manager has been handed an 18-year prison sentence for his involvement in the crime.

Komatsu, for his part, has pleaded innocent to the murder charge, saying he never asked the former manager to kill the woman. During Tuesday’s trial hearing, he reiterated his innocence, saying he did not meet the other man on Oct. 14 and that he had an alibi.

Two other men have been sentenced to 15 years in prison for standing watch while the murder took place.

Ino’s case made headlines after it was discovered she had filed a formal criminal complaint with Saitama police against the harassment of Komatsu and his friends but that police officials later rewrote it to make it appear she had merely reported the incident.

Twelve Saitama Prefectural Police officers, including the chief of police, were reprimanded in connection with the scandal.

In February, the Saitama District Court ordered the prefectural government to pay Ino’s parents 5.5 million yen in compensation, citing the laziness police showed in the investigation. Her parents had demanded some 110 million yen in damages.

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