• Kyodo


When Vayron Jonathan Nakada Ludena went to a Peruvian prison several years ago to visit his older brother, known as the “apostle of death” after being convicted of killing 17 people, the unraveling of his lonely, transient life in Japan was well underway.

Nakada, 30, had taken the news very badly and had grown gaunt. It was his first trip back to Peru since leaving his hometown to become a migrant worker in Japan in April 2005.

“From then on his personality became reclusive, like he was retreating into a shell,” Nakada’ssister, Maria Espejo, 48, said in a recent interview at her home in Lima.

Pedro Pablo Nakada Ludena, who claimed to have killed 25 in a rampage between January 2005 and December 2006, was sentenced to 35 years in prison. But he was exempt from responsibility due to a mental disorder and placed in a psychiatric ward on the prison grounds.

He reportedly wished to cleanse the Earth by eliminating prostitutes, drug addicts, homosexuals and criminals, believing he had been commanded by God to do so.

Espejo said that Nakada, who visited the prison in a desolate area on the outskirts of the capital, was irate at the cold-blooded way in which his brother had spoken.

Two photos of Nakada — one taken immediately before he came to Japan 10 years ago and the other taken when he went home for the first time — stand in stark contrast.

“The gentle eyes, they became harsh-looking eyes,” Espejo said of the thin, gaunt Nakada. He is now under arrest in Japan in connection with six slayings carried out during apparent home invasions.

She said that before departing Peru, Nakada had told her he hoped to build a house for the family with the money he would earn in Japan. He had at least four siblings in Japan, but it is unclear how many remain today.

He had expected to be welcomed with open arms by his older sister in Japan, but as a mother her hands were already tied.

Espejo said an older brother whom Nakada got along with well told him: “I can’t look after you. Work and become a man.”

So he turned to his eldest brother, with whom he was not on good terms with, but this, too, didn’t work out.

The timeline is unclear, but Nakada traveled alone from place to place, including part of Nagano and Fukuoka, in search of work. It was during this period that he was shocked to hear about his brother’s killings in Peru, Espejo said.

After the meeting with Pedro, Nakada had a brief rest before returning to Japan. He then went back to Lima for a second time about three years ago.

While at home, Espejo said Nakada would hardly leave his room, and claimed to hear the voices of his dead parents, complained of getting “nasty glances at work” and of “everyone being angry with me.”

He had become extremely haggard in appearance, but departed for Japan again due to a visa-related issue. After that, Espejo said, she lost contact.

Nakada’s erratic behavior with regard to work became more prevalent in the years and months leading up to the murders he allegedly perpetrated in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture.

He worked for a food factory in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, for about a year starting in late 2012, and then began working in July at a factory in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, but quit several days later.

He then found work at another food factory farther north in Isesaki in the southern part of Gunma and remained there until just before the Saitama slayings in September.

Nakada was a serious worker, but some South American migrants have pointed to the dangers of becoming isolated in a foreign land. Some break down mentally because of the monotony of their lives — just commuting and sleeping.

But Espejo believes it was the combination of Nakada’s dark childhood and living by himself in a far-off land that pushed her brother over the edge.

“Why did this happen? My brother has the responsibility to explain everything,” Espejo said.

According to the Justice Ministry, there were about 2.12 million foreign residents in Japan at the end of last year, up 2.7 percent from a year earlier.

In principle, the government does not permit those without specialized or technical skills to enter the country for work purposes. Nikkei, or the Japanese emigrants from Japan and their descendants who have moved to a foreign land, can enter as a spouse of a Japanese or as a permanent resident.

Given Japan’s aging and declining population, coupled with the diminishing number of children, the Justice Ministry has this year begun considering making it easier for foreigners to enter Japan.

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