Prosecutors on Friday demanded an eight-year jail term for a former top bureaucrat at the farm ministry who has admitted to killing his socially reclusive son in Tokyo.

Hideaki Kumazawa, 76, a former vice minister for agriculture, forestry and fisheries, is accused of stabbing his 44-year-old son Eiichiro Kumazawa in the neck and chest multiple times around 3:15 p.m. on June 1, causing his death from massive blood loss.

The defense team sought a suspended term, saying the defendant had supported his eldest son, who had a developmental disorder, for a long time and committed murder to save his own life after his son threatened to kill him.

In the trial, Kumazawa admitted to the indictment, saying “I would have been killed if I hadn’t stabbed him.” In Friday’s hearing, he said, “I think it is my duty to pay for the crime and pray that my son can spend a peaceful time in the afterlife.”

The ruling will be handed down Monday at the Tokyo District Court.

In a concluding statement, a prosecutor said, “The defendant simply attacked him when he was off guard with the strong intention of killing him,” explaining that there were more than 36 wounds found on his neck and chest.

While acknowledging the son’s violence at home was behind the murder, prosecutors said there were other options to solve the problem, pointing out that the defendant was economically stable and could have consulted with his colleagues or his son’s doctor.

According to prosecutors, Eiichiro had displayed violent behavior at home ever since he was bullied at a well-known private junior high school.

After he graduated from high school, the elder Kumazawa moved his son into a separate abode in Tokyo’s Mejiro area. But the son moved back to his parents’ home in Nerima Ward a week before the incident, prosecutors said.

According to his wife’s testimony, the day after their son returned home he assaulted his father by pulling his hair and slamming his head against a sideboard. Because Eiichiro had said nothing but “I will kill you” since then, the defendant and his wife decided to live exclusively on the second floor of their home, she said.

In previous hearings, Kumazawa said his son also threatened to kill him on the day of the incident and explained that he “went to get a kitchen knife as a reflex and stabbed him in the chest and neck.”

In seeking a suspended term, the defendant’s lawyer said in the concluding statement that Kumazawa “devotedly supported his eldest son with a developmental disorder for many years and made efforts to develop a favorable relationship.”

“The defendant killed him in fear for his own life,” his lawyer said.

Kumazawa joined the forerunner to the farm ministry in 1967 and became vice minister in 2001. He stepped down the following year amid criticism over the ministry’s handling of the mad cow disease outbreak.

He went on to serve as Japan’s ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2005 to 2008.

The case has drawn much public attention due to the large number of middle-aged hikikomori (social recluses) in Japan. The government estimates there are 613,000 hikikomori between 40 and 64 years old across the nation.

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.