National / Crime & Legal

Psychiatrist warned officials in June that Sasebo girl may commit murder


A psychiatrist who examined the 16-year-old girl suspected of killing and dismembering her classmate in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, called a child consultation center in the city in June to warn that she might commit murder, but prefectural officials failed to take any action, it was learned Thursday.

Nagasaki prefectural officials said the center staff judged it would be difficult to take any measures because the psychiatrist declined to identify the girl due to privacy reasons, but the prefectural government and the prefectural assembly said they are investigating whether the center’s decision was appropriate.

The psychiatrist, whose name was known to the center, told staff there that the girl had put poisonous substances in classmates’ school lunches when she was an elementary school student, hit her father with a baseball bat when she was a junior high student and had dissected a small animal.

“If she is left as she is, she could kill someone,” the psychiatrist reportedly told center officials.

After the slaying last weekend, center officials contacted the psychiatrist and found out that the girl mentioned by the doctor was the one who was arrested for killing 15-year-old Aiwa Matsuo. The suspect’s name is being withheld because she is a minor.

A meeting of the prefectural assembly’s education and welfare committee confirmed Thursday that the phone call was made June 10 to the child consultation center.

Police on Thursday night searched the home of the suspect’s father, where the girl lived until April.

The police are looking into the arrested girl’s upbringing to determine a possible motive. According to the high school that both girls attended, the police have interviewed two first-year students.

The police have also collected information from people close to the suspect’s elementary school classmates about the allegations she had mixed a bleaching agent and other substances into school lunches.

One high-ranking Sasebo official, who declined to be named, said the municipal government did not report the incident to the city’s board of education or the municipal assembly when it occurred, thinking the elementary school’s staff would handle the matter.