In the early morning hours of Nov. 16, a 46-year-old man allegedly struck a 64-year-old woman sitting in a Tokyo bus shelter in the head with a bag of rocks, killing her. On Nov. 21, the man, accompanied by his mother, turned himself in to the police, who charged him with inflicting a fatal injury. The man said his intent was not to kill the woman, but rather to cause pain so that she would leave the bus shelter, where she often spent the night. The woman, identified as Misako Obayashi, was apparently homeless. The suspect also said that the day before the attack he offered her money to go away. When she refused the offer he said he became angry.
Such incidents tend to inspire articles that explore how cruel society has become toward its most vulnerable members, especially now during a pandemic, when even more people are vulnerable.
However, there's something different about the disappointment expressed in the articles about Obayashi. Not much is known about her circumstances. She worked at a supermarket until February. On her person police found ¥8, a dead mobile phone and a piece of paper with several individuals' contact information. Her younger brother, who lives in Saitama, north of Tokyo, told reporters he hadn't been in touch with his sister for years, although he did receive a Christmas card from her in 2019 and was shocked to learn she lived on the streets.