A 72-year-old former Self-Defense Forces officer who apparently killed himself and injured three others during a festival in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, on Sunday, had been posting online messages about family troubles and warned of a desperate move.
Several social media accounts believed to have been written by Toshikatsu Kurihara hint about what might have led the pensioner to make such a move.
“I am desperate,” read a post on a blog believed to have been written by Kurihara, whose mangled body was found Sunday in a park in the city.
Kurihara allegedly killed himself by setting off an explosion near a culture center inside the park.
His house, about 8 km from the park, was gutted in a fire that officials believe started at 11:15 a.m., while his car was destroyed in an explosion that also damaged other cars in a parking lot near the park some 15 minutes later. It is believed he detonated the device that killed himself at 11:40 a.m. while he was sitting on a bench in the park.
The police found a suicide note on his body.
In messages posted on Twitter, Facebook and his personal blog, Kurihara elaborated on a divorce suit that he had lost and his dissatisfaction with the judicial system.
“I will end my life with an action that will never be forgiven by society,” one post said.
With his writings, he was apparently trying to draw the public’s attention.
“I was hoping this blog would spark outrage, but it only gets a few visitors. I must make things dramatic,” he wrote earlier this month.
Kurihara complained about his divorce and the family court that ruled in favor of his ex-wife.
“They confiscated all the money I had,” he wrote. “Next time they’ll auction my house.”
Dissatisfied with the ruling, Kurihara wrote that he was refusing to pay the amount ordered by the court.
The court ruled that he had sent his daughter to a hospital to undergo unneeded treatment for a mental disorder. It issued a restraining order, according to the blog.
Kurihara blamed his family’s situation on the mental condition of his daughter, who according to him developed schizophrenia 15 years ago. According to his writings, she was hospitalized four times.
Kurihara claimed that his daughter was capable of committing crimes such as the massacre that occurred at a facility for people with disabilities in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, in July in which a knife-wielding man killed 19 residents and left 45 wounded.
He also claimed that his daughter tried to kill him with a knife, and that she had been hospitalized following three murder attempts and a suicide bid.
Kurihara complained that the court did not acknowledge the struggles he had with his “disabled” daughter.
He also said his wife turned to a religious cult group and fortunetellers, actions which led to continuous disputes.
“Many families struggling with disabilities often see a tragic ending,” Kurihara wrote in one post. “Despite his commitment to social justice, Toshikatsu Kurihara, who was the one to launch the suit, lost the case. I just cannot accept it.”
Kurihara criticized the attitude of several judges, calling their practice “discriminatory” and against the law.
He wrote that the ruling was effectively a death penalty for him, saying he couldn’t live like that.
Kurihara’s younger sister told Kyodo News that he wrote on his Facebook page in March that he wanted to commit a crime similar to the stabbing spree in Tokyo’s Akihabara district in 2008 that killed seven people and injured 10.
She said Kurihara was emotionally unstable at that time due to the divorce suit and that she told him on Facebook that the family’s ancestors would never forgive him if he took innocent people’s lives.
She said she discussed this with her older sister and they talked to him. After the talk, Kurihara appeared to regain his self-control, she said.
Kurihara had been teaching meteorology to Ground Self-Defense Force officers. He retired in April 1999.
He wrote in his blog that his family troubles deepened afterward.
He also claimed that his wife once asked him, “Why haven’t you died in the line of duty?”
The police found Kurihara’s body with a note that mentioned his family troubles.
“I will atone by taking my own life,” he said in the note, although it was unclear, from the available information, exactly what he wanted to atone for.
Investigators searched the remains of Kurihara’s burned-out house and the park on Monday for evidence and a motive.
So far, police have found batteries and wires near the blast site in the park, as well as marbles, nails and two tubes. These are believed to have been used by Kurihara in making the explosive device.
Kurihara was confirmed to have died of wounds to his chest and abdomen, the police said.
Information from Kyodo added
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