• Kyodo News


A 17-year-old Tokyo male has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for murdering his parents last year.

The boy was 15 at the time of the crime. It is the first time a court has given an actual prison sentence for a murder committed by a defendant under 16 since the revised Juvenile Law lowered the minimum punishable age to 14 from 16 in April 2001.

“It was a heinous and serious crime and it is difficult to say (the defendant) has been deeply repentant,” presiding Judge Tsutomu Tochigi of the Tokyo District Court said Friday.

“Taking such factors into consideration, a punishment commensurate with the case’s magnitude is necessary to make him recognize the gravity of the crime and be aware of his responsibility.”

Tochigi said the penalty would help the defendant, who has not been named because he is a minor, return to society after doing time.

Prosecutors had demanded a 15-year prison term.

The boy’s lawyers argued unsuccessfully that his upbringing was behind the crime and that he needs correctional education.

“It cannot be said that the parents and the defendant communicated with each other very smoothly, but there is no evidence that they abused him or brought him up improperly,” Tochigi said.

The defense team said they plan to appeal.

According to the ruling, the boy had been unhappy with his 44-year-old father for making him help with his work. The teen finally decided to kill the man after he yelled at him to do his schoolwork even though he had already been studying.

Thinking his 42-year-old mother would suffer if she survived, he killed them both on June 20, 2005, by hitting his father in the head with an iron dumbbell and stabbing his mother with a kitchen knife in a construction company dormitory in Itabashi Ward, it said.

The couple had lived in the dormitory as caretakers along with their son, who was a first-year high school student at the time.

The boy then let cooking gas spread in the room where his parents’ bodies were and set off an explosion.

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