• Kyodo


The Osaka District Court on Friday sentenced a 25-year-old man to 30 years in prison for stabbing a resident to death with a dagger and injuring his three children at their home in the prefecture in 2016.

The Osaka District Court handed the term to Yuma Kobayashi, for whom prosecutors had sought the death penalty.

Defense lawyers had argued that Kobayashi, who had a history of schizophrenia, was mentally incompetent and could not be held criminally responsible for the attack.

According to the ruling, Kobayashi broke into the home of 43-year-old carpenter Yukinobu Kawakami, whom he had never met, in the city of Kadoma early on Oct. 19, 2016. It said he fatally stabbed Kawakami in the chest and back multiple times while he was asleep on the second floor, and injured his daughters, 19 and 21, as well as his 17-year-old son.

Presiding Judge Ryuta Asaka dismissed the prosecutors’ argument that Kobayashi was capable of taking full criminal responsibility, saying he “significantly lost self-control” due to paranoid schizophrenia.

“The act was cold-blooded and cruel as the defendant quietly broke into the home to make sure the family would be killed and one-sidedly attacked the four, who were defenseless,” the judge said.

The judge said the 30 times the defendant stabbed Kawakami highlighted the persistent and inhumane nature of the crime and that the maximum prison term of 30 years was appropriate.

Kobayashi’s defense team said he went to the location with a dagger “upon receiving orders from three unidentified men through brainwaves.” They argued that he was not guilty due to his mental illness.

The prosecutors, however, argued he was capable of taking full criminal responsibility based on psychiatric examinations.

Noting that the defendant had conducted internet searches beforehand for ways to kill someone, the prosecutors said, “He acted rationally to kill the entire family and cannot avoid capital punishment.”