HYOGO (TR) – A court here last month handed a 43-year-old man a suspended prison term for dumping the body of a 20-year-old woman at a dam in Kakogawa City last year, reports Kyodo News (June 25).
At the Kobe District Court on June 25, presiding judge Osamu Matsui handed Kazuhiko Inaoka an 18-month prison term, suspended for three years, for abandoning the body of Yuka Konishi, a resident of Yodogawa Ward, Osaka City, inside a plastic garment case at Gongen Dam on August 9.
Shoma Mori, 21, has also been indicted in the case, including for the murder of Konishi. During the trial, the defense claimed that Inaoka was not aware that a corpse was inside the garment case.
In handing down the ruling, judge Matsui pointed out the that the garment case had been inserted inside a cardboard box that was tightly wrapped with adhesive in tape. All told, the package weighed up to 50 kilograms. “It is acknowledged that [the defendant] might have been aware that a body was inside,” the judge said.
The prosecution had sought a two-year term for Konishi.
Clothed in a white shirt and pants
A male fisherman found the body of Konishi on the morning of August 11. Her body was clothed in a white shirt and pants. The plastic case, found floating several meters off shore, was bound with a rope and tied to two sand bags, police said at the time.
With marks consistent with strangulation found on her neck, the cause of death was suffocation. She is believed to have died the day before the discovery.
Inaoka and Mori both initially denied the allegations. However, Inaoka later admitted involvement, claiming that he “didn’t know” case contained a person. Mori later declined to comment.
Konishi lived in Osaka City alone after moving from Mie Prefecture. She worked at a kyabakura (hostess club) in the Juso area of Osaka before moving to a high-end establishment in Umeda.
Based on the investigation, police believed that Mori killed Konishi. An examination of surveillance camera footage showed Konishi walking with Mori through a business district in Osaka’s Kita Ward at around 7:30 a.m. on August 9.
The pair then entered a taxi, traveling about 4.7 kilometers to Mori’s residence in Nishi Ward, police said previously. Surveillance camera footage showed Konishi entering Mori’s fourth-floor residence. However, she is not seen leaving.
Given that bruises were found on Konishi’s face, police suspected Mori beat and fatally strangled her. Inaoka and Mori are then believed to have carried Konishi’s body down an emergency staircase and loaded it into a rented vehicle.
In explaining the suspended prison term, judge Matsui said that Inaoka acted under the instruction of Mori. “Defendant Mori asked for help and [defendant Inaoka] responded,” the judge said.
Mori’s trial has yet to begin.
“It is unfortunate that it cannot be said that all truth has become clear,” the mother of Konishi said through a representative. “I hope Mori speaks the truth once his trial begins.”