On July 30, the Osaka District Court sentenced a 42-year-old man to 20 years in prison for killing his sister. That’s the maximum term for the crime, but it’s also four years more than what prosecutors demanded. The reasoning behind the decision of the court, which included lay judges, has provoked an unusually pointed editorial response from the media. The Asahi Shimbun bluntly called the ruling “wrong.”
The convicted man, Kazuhiro Ohigashi, was diagnosed with a developmental disorder after he was arrested. His family never sought any treatment for his condition, and may not have thought he had a condition. At the age of 11 he stopped going to school because he didn’t like the one he was attending. He asked his parents to move so that he could go to a different school and they refused. For some reason he blamed his younger sister for his parents’ intransigence and developed a grudge against her. For the next 30 years he kept to his room. Even after he expressed a desire to commit suicide in his twenties his family didn’t seek help.