• Kyodo


The father of a boy slain in Akita Prefecture said Thursday he has filed a complaint with the prefectural safety commission alleging that sloppy police work led to the murder.

Katsuhiro Yoneyama, 40, is demanding an apology from the police and is urging the commission to examine the way they investigated the murder of Ayaka Hatakeyama, 9, in April. Hatakeyama was allegedly murdered by her mother, who is also suspected of murdering Yoneyama’s 7-year-old son, Goken, the following month.

According to the complaint, filed with the Akita Prefectural Public Safety Commission, Yoneyama said the investigations into the murder of the girl were insufficient, a conclusion drawn from his own research, in which he questioned 242 households.

“Because of improper investigations, my son was also murdered,” Yoneyama says in the complaint.

Suzuka Hatakeyama, 33, was arrested in connection with the murder of Yoneyama’s son and was later indicted for killing him and her own daughter.

The girl was found dead in a river, and the police concluded her death was accidental.

On Sept. 4, Akita police chief Tomoyuki Kinebuchi told a prefectural assembly panel that the probe into the girl’s death “was not necessarily sufficient.” He did not apologize to the Yoneyama family and no action has been taken against the police officers responsible for the allegedly improper investigations.

Police investigators concluded after the boy’s death that Hatakeyama threw her daughter into the river in the town of Fujisato.

“The prefectural police said it was a difficult case, but in fact it was a simple case,” Yoneyama said, adding that the police botched the investigation into the first case.

“It is wrong that the police do not take responsibility . . . although they have admitted making mistakes,” he said.

Yoneyama also sent a document to the National Public Safety Commission chairman and the National Police Agency commissioner general, urging them to examine the details of the police investigations of the girl’s death.

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