Sasebo teen held for allegedly strangling, decapitating friend


A teenager was arrested Sunday on suspicion of killing a high school friend who was visiting her apartment in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, police said.

The 15-year-old girl, whose name was withheld as she is a minor, allegedly used a blunt instrument to kill Aiwa Matsuo, also 15, around 8 p.m. Saturday by attacking her from behind with over a dozen blows to the head and strangling her. Her head and left hand had been chopped off as well, they said.

The suspect was arrested after confessing, they said.

“I did it all by myself,” the police quoted her as saying.

The suspect lives alone in Sasebo as her parents reside elsewhere in the city, they said.

The victim was found dead on a bed in the suspect’s apartment early Sunday. Both went to the same senior high school.

Matsuo had gone out Saturday afternoon, telling her family she was going to play with a friend. After she failed to return that night, her parents called the police. The apartment is about 1 km north of JR Sasebo Station, close to downtown.

Friends and acquaintances of the suspect described her as “very smart, with emotional ups and downs.”

“She is a very candid girl, and I used to play tag with her,” said a 18-year-old former classmate who now goes to a vocational school.

“She showed signs of being emotionally unstable and often started crying when she had an argument with someone,” she added.

The incident has sent shock waves through the teaching community in Sasebo due to its similarity with another murder in 2004 in which an elementary schoolgirl killed her classmate.

The 2004 killing prompted teachers to focus their efforts on designing school activities that would help students understand the sanctity of life.

In the face of Saturday’s killing, many now wonder if those efforts were in vain.

“I feel so sad and frustrated. We have kept calling attention to the value of life, but the message has not been delivered,” said the principal of the high school attended by the suspect and the victim.

The names of the principal and the school are being withheld.

  • zer0_0zor0

    Extremely disturbing.
    Why, first of all, does a fifteen year old girl have her own apartment? It seems particularly strange as her parents live in the same city, but she is a minor in either case.

    • Luc

      It’s not unusual in Japan for teenagers to have their own apartment – it’s a normal thing. In Canada, teenagers by the age of 17 can own their own apartment. Living on your own is cool and responsible.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I would actually say it’s highly UNusual for a 15 year old in Japan to have their own apartment. In my time here I’ve met zero teenagers living by themselves. I’m not saying it never happens, simply that it’s very unusual.

    • J Song

      This news article is missing the info that her father remarried since her mom and younger brother died. She might be considered “inconvenient” for the new family.

      • oshidori

        If that’s true that’s absolutely soul crushing-ly sad.

  • Luc

    Use of the word friend is a little odd… She went pretty far then just killing her. *sigh* so many unknows in this story.

  • geffet

    too much Psycho-Pass xD

  • doc_atom

    A shame that they spent their time and energy trying to instill “the value of life”—most people inherently understand that. Admin should have spent their time identifying those young individuals with signs of incipient mental illness (depression, anxiety, in this case, hints of schizophrenia)…there is so much untreated, hidden mental
    illness in Japan, it is truly shocking.

    • be honest CSL …. fess up

      Was she being prescribed drug treatment? Drugs can do awful things to people, upsetting their chemical imbalances. There seems to be no focus in this story on what authorities knew of her and what they were doing to her.

    • theDiscreteOne

      The lack of treatment for hidden mental illnesses in Japan would certainly explain Hikikomoris and Otakus.

  • be honest CSL …. fess up

    Are authorities in Japan willing to release known facts, as to the perpetrator’s prescription of drugs?

  • WarOnMugs

    What a ridiculous statement.

  • Rowan

    Checked Wikipedia, they hang people the proper way, with a “substantial drop”.