• Kyodo


Hiroji Kondo, 60, an exorcist from Tochigi Prefecture who is suspected of killing a 7-year-old diabetic boy by persuading his parents to discontinue insulin injections, has confessed to conducting exorcisms for over a decade, police said.

Kondo, from the town of Shimotsuke in Tochigi Prefecture, was arrested Thursday for allegedly instructing the parents of insulin-dependent Shun Imai, a second grader at an Utsunomiya elementary school, to stop giving him insulin despite knowing he was highly likely to die without it.

Kondo denied causing the boy’s death, police said.

According to police, the self-proclaimed exorcist received several million yen from the boy’s parents, both in their 40s, to cover expenses required for Shun’s treatment.

The police are investigating the source of income Kondo received in the name of medical practice, and speculated he may have been involved in other cases.

The police are also trying to verify the relationship between the Imais and Kondo.

According to police, Shun’s parents became acquainted with the man when Kondo visited an office where the boy’s mother was working around August or September 2014. This was just a few months before Shun was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus Type 1 in November. The boy was hospitalized soon afterward.

Recalling Kondo’s claim that he could heal incurable diseases, Shun’s parents contacted Kondo in December, seeking his help. Kondo repeatedly rubbed Shun’s body and chanted a spell as part of his “treatment.”

Kondo allegedly explained to the Imais that “(the boy) won’t recover if given insulin because he has the ‘god of death’ in his stomach.” He convinced Shun’s parents to discontinue insulin injections soon after the boy was released from hospital in February this year.

In March, however, a seriously ill Shun was rushed to the hospital, and after treatment his condition improved within a month.

After his release, Shun’s parents once again stopped giving him insulin around early April, causing their son to become increasingly debilitated. He eventually died at a Tochigi hospital on April 27.

Police are questioning Shun’s parents on a voluntary basis on suspicion of negligence resulting in their son’s death.

According to police, the Imais claimed they sought Kondo’s help as their son did not like injecting himself with insulin and they felt sorry when they saw him suffering.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.