Teen confesses to beheading Japan boy -- police say
June 28, 1997
Web posted at: 3:10 p.m. EDT (1910 GMT)
KOBE, Japan (CNN) -- A junior high school student confessed
Saturday to the May killing of an 11-year-old boy whose
gruesome murder shocked this relatively crime-free nation,
police announced in a nationally televised news conference.
The 14-year-old suspect, whose name was not released, lived
in the neighborhood in the western city of Kobe where the
victim's decapitated body was found.
He confessed to police after several hours of questioning,
lead investigator Seishi Yamashita said. The suspect is
believed to be an acquaintance of Jun Hase, whose severed
head was found by a custodian in a schoolyard on May 27.
"We searched intensively around the site of the murder and
asked the 14-year-old suspect to accompany us to the station.
The suspect confessed to committing the murder," Yamashita
said, adding that police found a knife at the boy's house.
"As far as the motive, that's something we'll be
The murder of Hase prompted fears among residents that a
serial murderer was on the loose. Parents and teachers led
to and from schools in groups, a rare measure in a country
renowned for its low crime rate. Parks emptied and people
stocked up on security alarms that a child could set if
In a note left in Hase's mouth, the killer called the police
"fools" and boasted of taking pleasure in seeing people die.
A person claiming to be the killer also wrote a letter to the
Kobe newspaper, threatening to kill three people a week and
expressing hatred over Japan's high-pressured educational
Police said the letter provided important leads in
identifying the alleged killer. National broadcaster NHK
reported that police had been led to the young suspect as
they investigated bizarre killings of pigeons and other small
animals in the area.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Takashi Kosugi said Saturday in
Tokyo that authorities would investigate whether there was
any link between the killing and the education establishment.
Added Akira Yokoyama, a local government official: "More than
feeling relieved that a suspect has been caught, I'm
surprised that he's a junior high school student."
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