At around 1:55 a.m. on Feb. 28, Arisa Yamada, returning from her home in Kichijoji, Musashino City, was assaulted on the street in an attempted robbery. Stabbed multiple times by two assailants, the 22-year-old died from her wounds.
Soon afterwards, police detained a 17-year-old youth of Romanian nationality, who confessed to the crime. The youth, a legal resident of Japan, had run away from home about one month earlier.
Because he is a minor, we may never see a photo of his face. While Mizoguchi says that speculation should be avoided, the background of the incident very likely involves human trafficking.
In March 2005, the U.S. State Department, in its Report on Human Rights, singled out Japan as a country where human trafficking was rampant, with as many as 200,000 foreign females working here. Since June of the previous year, the State Department had been monitoring Japan on the issue.
Japan’s response was to place stringent controls on entry by foreign females, who had previously come to work on entertainer visas — a category ostensibly for singers and dancers, but which was easily abused to enable almost anyone into the country. Among the countries that had been supplying such females was Romania; tough new restrictions cut their number from a peak of around 4,000 to half that figure.
Some of these Romanian women married Japanese men, thereby obtaining legal resident status, which enabled them to continue working as waitresses and as workers in the sex industry.
Mizoguchi supposes the youth accused in the killing in Kichijoji would have been born around 1995 or 1996, which was just about the time that the influx of women from Romania to Japan began to increase rapidly.
While both his birth parents were Romanians, his mother had divorced and remarried with a Japanese, after which the boy was brought to Japan to be reunited with his mother.
Mizoguchi sees a parallel between this recent case and with the hundreds of second- or third=generation relatives of Japanese war orphans in China, who were brought to Japan as teens and who joined hot-rod gangs and graduated to becoming quasi-yakuza, such as the Kanto Rengo gang, who have been involved in several violent incidents.
Will the offspring of Romanian women who have come to work in Japan form the makings of a new crime group?
Currently some 530 Romanian nationals are living in Tokyo.
“As farfetched as it may seem,” Mizoguchi writes, “in the background of this tragic incident are the sexual urges of Japanese males.”
Source: “Rumania-jin shonen no shakaiteki haikei ni Nihonjin dansei no koshoku,” Nikkan Gendai (Mar. 5, page 5)