• Kyodo


A 36-year-old man pleaded guilty Monday to kidnapping and killing a 7-year-old girl in the city of Nara in November.

“They’re all true,” Kaoru Kobayashi said of the eight charges against him as his trial opened at the Nara District Court. Prosecutors said he had told investigators he wants to be sentenced to hang as soon as possible.

Kobayashi, who was a sales agent for the Mainichi Shimbun, is accused of killing Kaede Ariyama in his house after abducting her Nov. 17 while she was walking home from school. He dumped her corpse next to a road. He had earlier confessed his crimes to police.

Kobayashi is also accused of sending a photo of the girl’s body to her mother via the victim’s mobile phone along with a message saying, ‘I’ve got your daughter.”

In their opening statement, prosecutors said Kobayashi killed the girl because he thought she would remember his face and other details about him, because she appeared to be a clever child.

They also alleged that Kobayashi sent the photo to the victim’s mother because he wanted to shock the public.

Kobayashi’s lawyers said they plan to ask that the court conduct a psychological examination on him to clarify his motives and the background of the incident.

According to the prosecutors, Kobayashi began to have an interest in small girls after watching an animated pornographic video when he was in high school. Before the Nara slaying, he had a record of molesting young girls and once spent time in prison for attempted murder when he was in his early 20s.

Kobayashi plotted to molest a girl one week before he abducted Ariyama, the prosecutors said.

While waiting for girls to leave school for home, he decided to target either a first- or second-grader “because he thought that they would silently follow him,” the prosecutors said in their statement.

Kobayashi drove up to Ariyama as she walked home alone, persuaded her to get in his car and took her cellular phone.

He invited her into his house after asking her to help him carry parcels, and drowned her in his bathtub when she resisted, the prosecutors said.

Kobayashi used the girl’s cell phone to make silent calls to her mother, and after he learned the mother was frantic about her missing daughter, he sent her the photo of the dead girl and the threatening message to shock society, they said.

Kobayashi was arrested Dec. 30 and the victim’s phone and other evidence was found in his possession. Earlier in December, he sent another message to Ariyama’s mother threatening to kill the victim’s younger sister.

His charges include murder, kidnapping for the purpose of sexual assault, molestation and theft.

Kobayashi, who sulked while in court, nodded a number of times as he owned up to the charges.

In the afternoon session, prosecutors read aloud Kobayashi’s confession made during the investigation, in which he said he claimed he felt no remorse and believed he could not be rehabilitated.

“I want to be sentenced to death as quickly as possible, and leave a legacy among the public as the next Tsutomu Miyazaki or Mamoru Takuma,” the prosecutors quoted Kobayashi as saying, referring to death-row serial killer Miyazaki and executed child-killer Takuma.

Miyazaki is currently appealing his death sentence for killing four small girls in 1988 and 1989. Takuma was hanged in September for killing eight children at an Osaka elementary school in 2001.

According to the prosecutors, Kobayashi had told investigators that he had a “sense of fulfillment that he had the girl” to himself, while noting that he “did not care” what the victim’s parents thought.

The prosecutors also quoted Ariyama’s parents as telling investigators that they want Kobayashi to hang or be given “even harsher punishment.”

Reflecting the high public interest in the case, some 1,400 people lined up for 32 seats in the gallery to attend the opening session.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.