• Kyodo


A year after the body of a slain 9-year-old Vietnamese girl was found in Chiba Prefecture, the girl’s father told reporters Monday that he hopes a similar incident never happens again.

Le Anh Hao, the 35-year-old father of Le Thi Nhat Linh, visited the site where her body was found a year ago in Abiko, east of Tokyo, and laid flowers in front of Linh’s photo. She was allegedly murdered by a neighbor who was the head of the parents’ association at her school.

Hao, a resident of Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, also said it was “really a long year” for the family and expressed hope that justice will be served in the upcoming trial.

The lay judge trial for Yasumasa Shibuya, 46, who stands accused of murder and other acts, will begin at the Chiba District Court on June 4.

According to the indictment, Linh went missing on March 24, 2017, while on her way to school and was found dead near a drainage ditch in Abiko two days later. Shibuya was arrested the following month on suspicion of abandoning her body.

Hao said more than 1.1 million signatures seeking capital punishment for Shibuya have been collected in Japan, Vietnam and elsewhere.

Before visiting the crime scene, Hao met with Matsudo Mayor Kenji Hongoya at his home. The mayor told reporters that adults were responsible for not being able to protect Linh and that he was very sorry.

Hao told the mayor he will continue to live in Matsudo and raise Linh’s 4-year-old brother in the city, Hongoya said.

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