Niigata man gets life for driving car into girl, 7, then molesting and strangling her
Japan Times -- Dec 06
The Niigata District Court on Wednesday sentenced a 25-year-old man to life in prison for the sexual assault and murder of a 7-year-old schoolgirl last year.

According to the ruling, Haruka Kobayashi intentionally hit the second-grader with his car while she was on her way home from school on May 7 last year in the city of Niigata, molested her in his car and then strangled her to death before abandoning her body on a railway track so it would appear that she had been hit and killed by a train.

The court noted the crime “indiscriminately targeted a vulnerable person” and described it as “vicious.”

Presiding Judge Takeshi Yamazaki said Kobayashi did not intend to kill the girl initially, but he was “aware that (strangling her) carried a high risk of killing her.”

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty, maintaining the accused had “made light of (the girl’s) life.”

去年5月、新潟市で小学2年生の女の子を殺害し、遺体を線路に遺棄した罪などに問われていた小林遼被告(25)の裁判で、新潟地裁は、無期懲役の判決を言い渡した。裁判での争点の一つは、被告に殺意があったかどうかだった。検察は、「被告は捜査段階で5分以上、首を絞めたことを認めている」として、死刑を求刑。一方、弁護側は、「首を絞めたのは気絶させるためだった」と反論し、殺人罪ではなく、傷害致死罪にあたるとして、重くても懲役10年が妥当と主張した。新潟地裁は4日、「気絶させる目的だったとしても、死亡する危険性が高い行為との認識は当然、あったものと言える」とし、被告に殺意があったと認めた。ただ、そのうえで、「同様の事件と比べて際立って残虐とは言えない」「弱者を狙った無差別的な事件だが、死刑の選択が、やむを得ないとは言えない」として、無期懲役を言い渡した。

News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
Aug 12
The nation entered the dog days of summer Tuesday as temperatures climbed above 40 degrees Celsius in some areas, prompting authorities to issue a heatstroke warning and encourage the removal of face masks in certain situations. (Japan Times)
Aug 12
A Japanese company that operates a cargo ship that ran aground off Mauritius says nearly half of the oil the vessel is believed to have leaked in the Indian Ocean has been collected. (NHK)
Aug 11
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed 188 new cases of COVID-19 infection Tuesday, holding below the 200 mark for a second straight day, but worries over the spread of the new coronavirus remained amid a heat wave in the middle of the Bon summer holiday period. (Japan Times)
Aug 11
Ninety-one people at a high school in Shimane Prefecture have tested positive in recent days for the novel coronavirus in a cluster outbreak centered on the boys’ soccer team, according to local authorities. (Japan Times)
Aug 11
The cumulative total of COVD-19 infections in Japan surpassed 50,000 on Monday, including about 700 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama in February. (Japan Times)
Aug 11
Narita Airport, one of the main travel hubs for the Tokyo area, has already begun to make changes to keep travelers and workers safe in the coronavirus era. (Nikkei)
Aug 11
Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have held talks with the top disarmament affairs official of the United Nations. (NHK)
Aug 11
The number of people using public transport in Japan is much lower than normal for the time of year due to a surge in coronavirus infections. The Bon holiday period normally sees many visiting their hometown. (NHK)
Aug 10
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines says it believes more than 1,000 tons of oil have leaked from a bulk carrier that ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean on July 25. (NHK)
Aug 10
Japan's male smoking rate fell below 30 percent for the first time in 2019, slipping to 28.8 percent, down 2.3 percentage points from the previous study in 2016, according to a health ministry survey. (Japan Today)