Tokyo police served an arrest warrant to Akira Murayama on Wednesday for allegedly causing his 14-year-old stepson to commit suicide.
The unemployed man is currently on trial for allegedly injuring Yuito Murayama, a teenager whose body was found on the morning of July 30 in the family’s home in Nishitokyo, west Tokyo. The teen’s body apparently had multiple injuries, which police suspect were caused by physical abuse.
Police say Yuito committed suicide after his stepfather kicked him in the chest and repeatedly struck his face the night before.
Murayama, 41, was arrested the following day.
“I told my son I wanted him to die within 24 hours,” police quoted him as saying. He reportedly said he told his stepson to “hang yourself and die.”
Investigative sources say the boy had been abused by his stepfather, who called it “discipline,” since he started junior high school two years ago.
Police also suspect that the abuse escalated over time and may have caused the teen to miss weeks of school starting in June. As a result, investigators are trying to determine whether Murayama may have also confined his stepson in the house.
They believe the boy’s suicide was caused by daily physical and emotional abuse.
According to investigators, Murayama would often tell the boy: “Your breath stinks. Wear a (surgical) mask except when you eat.”
Murayama and the teen’s mother married about two years ago.
The boy’s school is also suspected of negligence that may have contributed to his suicide. Teachers were apparently aware he was being abused by his stepfather but did not report it to a counseling center for children.
“I’d like to know why all of this had to happen,” the boy’s grandmother said.