TOKYO (TR) – A court here on Monday sentenced a former university student to five years in prison over the murder of a woman who had requested that he carry out the crime, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 6).
At the Tokyo District Court, presiding judge Hideki Igeta said that Mizuki Kitajima, 22, acted “without regard for human life” in the strangulation of the woman, then 36, inside a hotel room in the Ikebukuro area of Toshima Ward on September 12.
The prosecution had sought a 7-year term.
The name of the woman was withheld out of privacy. Before the incident, she communicated with Kitajima on Twitter after he tweeted that he was seeking to assist persons in taking their lives, the ruling said.
During the trial, the defense claimed that Kitajima acted altruistically at the request of the woman in seeking a suspended prison term.
However, judge Igeta said that assisting a person in committing suicide cannot be considered assistance.
“I want you to think hard about the importance and the weight of human life,” the judge said, according to Kyodo News. “If you think about the victim’s future possibilities and the affection of her family, you shouldn’t have done it even though the request was made.”
Kitaijima is a resident of Iruma City, Saitama Prefecture. During the investigation, police said that he told them that he had used Twitter to communicate with “several persons” interested in committing suicide. The woman was one such person.
Kitajima also had been in touch with a teenage girl. After arranging to meet with her, Kitajima arrived at the designated location at the appointed time with a rope to strangle her. However, the girl did not appear. Later, her account was found to have been suspended, police said previously.