• Kyodo


A lawyer for an Akita Prefecture woman arrested in the slaying of a 7-year-old neighbor boy in May said Monday he has been asked by his client not to tell the media about her daughter’s April killing, which she has also confessed to perpetrating.

“I’d like you to wait,” lawyer Hideki Arisaka quoted suspect Suzuka Hatakeyama as telling him recently.

Reversing past statements, Hatakeyama, 33, has admitted killing her 9-year-old daughter, Ayaka, by throwing the girl from a bridge into a river in April. Investigative sources said Hatakeyama told police that her daughter was “annoying.”

Hatakeyama is believed to have explained what she meant when she talked to her lawyer. But Arisaka answered few questions about the daughter at a news conference Monday.

Arisaka said Hatakeyama has denied taking out a life insurance contract in the girl’s name as well as accepting insurance money after her death.

Hatakeyama was charged Monday with the murder of Goken Yoneyama, who lived next-door.

Yoneyama’s corpse was found along the banks of the Yoneshiro River in Noshiro, about 2 km from where the girl was found apparently drowned.

On the evening of April 9, Hatakeyama reported to police that her daughter had left home to visit a friend but then failed to return.

Hatakeyama last week claimed she and her daughter went to the Osawa Bridge over the Fujikoto River, some 2 km from their home in the town of Fujisato, by car that evening and that the girl accidentally fell into the river.

The mother was quoted by investigative sources as saying she was “too upset” to call for help immediately.

Hatakeyama then again changed her account, saying she “dropped” the girl from the bridge.

The girl’s body was found in the Fujisato River on April 10, about 4 km downstream from the bridge.

Her skull was fractured, which could have been caused by the fall. Police initially concluded her death was accidental, until the Yoneyama slaying prompted them to initiate an investigation.

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.