• Kyodo


Prosecutors sent a 16-year-old boy to a family court Wednesday for allegedly setting fire to his home in Nara Prefecture that killed his stepmother and two siblings last month.

The Nara Family Court will place him in a juvenile center in the city of Nara for two weeks to evaluate his mental condition before it decides whether he should face criminal prosecution.

According to the Nara District Public Prosecutor’s Office, the teen began plotting the arson in early June, triggered by the belief that his midterm test scores would be given to his parents, Drs. Motoyoshi and Minka Yoshikawa, at a parent-teacher interview June 20, the day the house was set on fire.

The prosecutors’ opinion attached to the file sent to the family court said the boy had “what appears to be a firm intent to kill” and should be sent back to face criminal charges.

The prosecutors, citing several remarks by the boy, said he did not appear to have grasped the gravity of the incident.

“It makes me feel good to have my home reduced to ashes,” he was quoted in the documents as saying, and “It was comfortable to stay in a police cell because I didn’t have to study.”

The teen also was quoted as telling investigators he committed the crime because, “I was afraid my mother would find out my bad performance on a midterm exam.”

The prosecutors said the boy apparently hated his father for pressuring him to study and had tried to kill him before.

“One night, I went to the room where my father slept with a bat in my hand but couldn’t (hit him) because he woke up. . . . I was going to carry out (the arson) the day before, when my father was home, but couldn’t do it because I overslept,” he was quoted in the documents as saying.

The teen allegedly spread cooking oil in his home in the town of Tawaramoto and set it alight shortly after 5 a.m. on June 20, while his stepmother, Minka, 38, and brother, Yoshiki, 7, and sister, Yumin, 5, slept on the second floor.

The boy’s father, Motoyoshi, 47, was working the night shift at a hospital at the time of the fire.

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