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2014年8月 4日 (月)

佐世保高1殺害 なぜ少女は凶行に走ったのか

The Yomiuri Shimbun
What was behind the horrendous killing of a Sasebo high school girl?
佐世保高1殺害 なぜ少女は凶行に走ったのか

A first-year female student of a Nagasaki prefectural government-run high school in Sasebo has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a female classmate.

What was behind this grisly killing? Investigative authorities must get to the bottom of this crime.

The girl allegedly strangled the victim after striking her with a blunt instrument at the alleged perpetrator’s apartment on the night of July 26, and severed parts of the victim’s body with a saw and other implements.

The victim was said to have enjoyed studying history and aspired to enter the literature department of a university. At her funeral service, her father was quoted as saying his daughter was “my precious treasure.” The depth of sadness of the bereaved family is beyond imagination.

In reply to questions posed by investigators, the alleged perpetrator was cited as saying she wanted to feel “what it was like to kill someone.”

The two girls had been classmates since middle school and they reportedly had not bullied or quarreled with each other. On the day of the murder, they were said to have enjoyed shopping together until immediately before the killing.

Why on earth did one girl find it necessary to murder her friend? The psychotic nature of the crime is conspicuous. We are completely at a loss to figure it out.

The alleged perpetrator was said to be getting good grades ever since her early childhood, and was enthusiastic about sports. When she was in primary school, however, the girl caused trouble by mixing detergent and other substances into school lunches.

Last autumn, her mother died of an illness. After her father remarried this year, the girl hit her father with an aluminum bat. It also was reported that the girl dismembered a small animal.

Warning left unaddressed

Given that she is at a susceptible adolescent age, it may be that changes in the girl’s familial environment influenced her state of mind.

The girl is expected to be referred to a family court shortly. To try to understand the psychological process behind the murder, the investigative authorities will probably find it imperative to not only have the girl undergo a psychiatric examination, but also to probe in detail her family background and early development.

The girl began living alone in the apartment from spring this year. But she was absent from her high school much of the time.

It has been reported that her middle school teachers and others occasionally called on the girl at the apartment to counsel her and to have a meal with her. It is deeply regrettable that efforts made by the school officials and others failed to bear fruit.

In June, a local child consultation center received a telephone inquiry from a psychiatrist who had examined the girl, saying she could “go to the extremes of even committing murder.” The center, however, did nothing but provide the psychiatrist with some words of advice.

It is highly lamentable that information regarding the deepening seriousness of the girl’s behavior failed to be conveyed to the school authorities and police, so possible steps to adequately address the girl’s problems came up short. Anything relevant to those circumstances must be put under the microscope.

Another incident occurred about a decade ago in Sasebo in which a girl in the sixth year of primary school caused a classmate to bleed to death. Despite the subsequent nationwide effort to encourage students to understand the sanctity of life, the incident this time has sent shock waves throughout the country.

The government should forge ahead with measures to effectively address problems that affect the sensibilities of children, such as improving the use of school counselors.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 3, 2014)


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