Hi Blog. Something interesting I found last week: An NPA wanted poster for murderers, put up in banks, post offices, and police boxes nationwide, offering tidy rewards for information leading to their arrest.
Snap taken March 3, 2009, by the ATMs of Hokuyou Ginkou Ebetsu Branch. Sorry it’s a bit hard to see, but all of them are wanted for murder (satsujin).
Actually, sorry, I fib. One isn’t. The fourth one from the left. Closeup.
Recognize the name and that face? That’s Ichihashi Tatsuya, the suspected murderer of Lindsay Ann Hawker, former NOVA English teacher, found beaten, suffocated, and buried in a tub of sand on his apartment balcony back in 2007. Police bungled their investigation, and he escaped on foot down a fire escape without even his shoes. He’s still at large. Hence the wanted poster. Sources:
Funnily enough, unlike everyone else on that poster, Ichihashi is not wanted on a charge of “murder”. It’s rendered as “abandonment of a corpse” (shitai iki). Even more funnily enough, that’s the same charge levelled at Nozaki Hiroshi (the dismemberer of a Filipina in 2000, who got out after only 3 years to stow more Filipina body parts in a locker in 2008), and at Obara Jouji, convicted serial rapist and dismemberer of Lucie Blackman. Seems like these crimes, if they involve NJ, are crimes to their dead bodies, not crimes of making them dead.
My next Japan Times article is on this, in part (due out Tuesday, March 24). So as part of my research, today I called the Chiba Police number provided on the poster above to ask why Ichihashi wasn’t accused of murder. The investigator, a Mr Shibusa, said he couldn’t comment in specific on the case. When I asked how one distinguishes between charges of murder vs. abandonment, he said that it depended on the details of each case, but generally if the suspect admits homicidal intent (satsu-i), it’s murder. However, how the other suspects on the poster were so cooperative as to let the police know their will to kill before escaping remains unclear. I’m still waiting for an answer to my request for further clarification on why Ichihashi’s charge was rendered differently.
I’ll be making the case in the JT article that Japanese jurisprudence and criminal procedure, both in the prosecution of criminals and as criminals, differs by nationality, with the NJ getting a raw deal. The wanted poster above is but one piece of evidence. Stay tuned. Arudou Debito in Sapporo