• Kyodo

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The parents of a 4-year-old boy who was murdered in July, allegedly by a 12-year-old junior high school student who lured him to his death, told a family court Wednesday they want the strictest punishment possible for the perpetrator.

Speaking before the Nagasaki Family Court, the parents and grandfather of Shun Tanemoto read out prepared statements, but according to their lawyers, all three began crying before finishing the first line.

They said “the pain of getting through the days is unbearable,” and that while they want the killer sentenced to death, they are also aware this is impossible.

“We would like to see the strictest form of punishment possible” for the 12-year-old suspect, they were quoted as telling the court.

Tanemoto’s naked body was found on the morning of July 2 next to an eight-story parking garage in Nagasaki, a day after he disappeared from an electronics store about 4 km away while shopping with his family.

The following week, the 12-year-old suspect was taken into custody for allegedly luring Tanemoto to the garage and throwing him off the roof.

Under the Criminal Code, people under age 14 cannot be held responsible if they commit crimes.

According to a recent report on psychiatric tests conducted on the suspect, he suffers from a disorder that makes him unable to interact well with people.

In the report, experts on such developmental disorders dismiss a direct link between the pervasive developmental disorder and committing a crime. They said there must be other factors, including upbringing, that would have caused this particular incident.

The report recommends that the boy receive medical and other treatment over a fixed period of time.

Sufferers of this kind of disorder do not necessarily lag intellectually, but cannot deal with people and empathize with them. They are also characterized as being meticulous and compulsive.

Based on the findings of the psychiatric tests and police investigation records, the Nagasaki Family Court is expected to send the boy by Oct. 1 to a special facility designed to help children adapt to society, because he cannot be put on trial in a criminal court or be sent to a reformatory.

In response to the parents’ comments, presiding Judge Hiroko Ito was quoted as saying that what the court heard would be duly utilized in its handling of the case.

Tanemoto’s family has had access to the results of psychiatric tests and interrogations of the boy since he was taken into custody. They had asked for an opportunity to directly voice their sentiments to the court.

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