Enraged by the publication last month of a memoir by an infamous child serial killer from Kobe, the father of one of the victims petitioned the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Wednesday for a ban on criminals talking about their crimes, including in print and movies, without the permission of those they harmed.
Mamoru Hase, whose 11-year-old son Jun was murdered and decapitated by a teen killer in 1997, said the autobiography had caused bereaved relatives “heartrending pain” and had rubbed salt into their barely healed wounds.
The killer, who was 14 at the time, murdered two children and mutilated three others in the city in 1997. He remains identified only as “Seito Sakakibara,” a name he gave himself in written messages at the time of the killings. The memoir is titled “Zekka,” a coined term which could translate as “desperate songs.”
A month after its publication, Hase said the agony remains unabated.
“The book dealt us a huge emotional blow at a time when we were finally about to move on,” Hase told a packed news conference in Tokyo.
“After being deprived of our son, we were hurt once again by the publication of the book. This is completely unforgivable.”
The petition was submitted to LDP lawmaker Kunio Hatoyama, who heads a fledgling project team tasked with protecting crime victims.
In it, Hase and his supporters, including lawyer Keiji Goto, stressed the necessity of establishing a law preventing criminals and ex-convicts from recounting details of their crimes.
Their proposals include prohibiting offenders from having their stories published in books or movies without prior approval of the relatives of their victims. If the offenders went ahead with recounting their crimes without such permission, they should be denied access to any resulting profits, the petition reads.
The proposed law, which lawyer Goto acknowledges undermines offenders’ rights to free expression, is thus fundamentally different from what is known in the United States as Son of Sam laws, which generally only prevent criminals from profiting from the publicity of their crimes.
“Our goal boils down to securing peace and stability of the bereaved families,” the petition says.
Seito Sakakibara, who is now 32 and whose real name has not been released, is how the killer nicknamed himself in a note he left at the scene of Hase’s murder, in which Hase’s severed head was found in front of the gate of a local junior high school.
In the memoir released by Tokyo-based Ota Publishing Co., Sakakibara relates carrying out his crimes in considerable detail, apparently reveling in the memories and leaving ambiguity over the depth of his regret.
He at times delves deep into what he called his “incorrigibly perverted” sexual proclivities, saying he derived ecstasy from killing and dissecting humans.
Immediately after the release of the book, Hase issued a statement calling for its withdrawal, saying it had been published without his prior knowledge. While some bookstores and libraries refused to stock it, the volume quickly ascended through the best-seller list, with the initial print run of 100,000 copies reportedly selling out in the first two weeks.
Amid mounting criticism, the Ota publisher, for one, has defended the memoir as beneficial to society in that it explains the inner feelings of a juvenile offender.
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