• Kyodo News


The National Police Agency will post bulletins Tuesday announcing rewards of up to 3 million yen each for tips leading to the resolution of five unsolved crimes, including murders and murder-robberies that took place in Chiba and three other prefectures between 1997 and 2006.

The rewards will be valid for a year.

It is the first time the NPA has resorted to offering rewards to solve cold cases.

Rewards for tips are usually offered by families of crime victims or groups of retired police officers.

This new tactic is seen as a response to a changing social environment in which detectives are finding it more difficult to solve cases through traditional investigative methods, such as door-to-door interviews, the NPA said.

The five cases include a murder-robbery in which a man was stabbed to death in the city of Chiba in 1997, and a case in which a woman and her daughter were killed at a home in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, in 2006.

None of the cases was resolved due to a lack of both information and suspects.

The NPA has plans to set up similar rewards ranging up to 1 million yen for tips leading to the capture of suspects linked to the sarin attacks on Tokyo subways in 1995 by Aum Shinrikyo, as well as other cases.

Hidemichi Morosawa, a Tokiwa University professor who studies crime victims, said the rewards show that the NPA is determined to solve the dead-end cases.

“Police should keep making appeals that the rewards, which use public funds, are ‘in the interest of the public,’ ” he said.

Some critics have voiced concerns about the rewards.

Journalist Akihiro Otani said that by setting these five cases apart, the police will be creating a distinction that smacks of unfairness to other victims and their families.

“Information on criminal cases should be provided on the basis of a sense of social justice and a hatred of crimes,” he said.

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