National / Crime & Legal

Former vice minister of Japan farm ministry charged with murder of son, 44

Kyodo

Former farm ministry official Hideaki Kumazawa was indicted Friday in connection with the murder of his 44-year-old son earlier this month at their home in Tokyo.

According to the indictment, the former vice minister, 76, stabbed Eiichiro Kumazawa in the neck multiple times at around 3:15 p.m. on June 1. He then called the police to report that he had fatally stabbed his son.

The son died at the hospital from massive blood loss.

Kumazawa later said the stabbing was prompted by fear his son might harm children. He said he saw similarities between his son and Ryuichi Iwasaki, the man who attacked over a dozen schoolchildren from Caritas Elementary School plus two adults during a stabbing spree in Kawasaki on May 28, leaving two dead, investigative sources said.

He said he heard his son say he would “kill” students after becoming incensed by noise from an athletic meet at the elementary school near their home, the sources said.

Kumazawa said his son was socially withdrawn and had exhibited violent behavior toward him and his wife.

Iwasaki lived with his aunt and uncle but hardly left home, according to officials from Kawasaki’s mental health and welfare center.

A graduate of the University of Tokyo, Hideaki Kumazawa joined the predecessor of the farm ministry in 1967 and became vice minister in 2001. He stepped down the following year amid criticism about the ministry’s handling of mad cow disease. He served as Japanese ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2005 to 2008.