minor killer featured

We’re fairly sure the majority of our readers remember the story the we published earlier this week about an apparently ISIS-inspired gang that killed schoolboy Ryota Uemura and threatened to upload the footage for all to see. Perhaps as you were reading that article you were wondering why there were no pictures of the high schoolers who were arrested for the brutal murder. Well, the reason is because according to Japanese law, it is illegal to release the names and photos of minors arrested for crimes.

But one Japanese magazine, Shukan Shincho, seemingly didn’t care about the law in this case as they published the real name and photographs of one of the boys arrested regardless, stating that doing so was “justified” on this occasion.

Here’s a picture of Shukan Shincho (The Weekly Currents), the magazine that published the name and photos of the arrested boy, released on March 5:

IMG_0052RocketNews24

The publication of the boy’s name and picture immediately caused a ruckus online. Susumu Murakoshi, the head of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, had this to say:

“It [the publication] goes against Article 61 of juvenile law, and it is regrettable that it happened. If information about [the boy] is made public that lets people know who he is, then it will make his rehabilitation and reentry into society much more difficult.”

In defense of publishing the name and photo, Shukan Shincho’s editing department commented:

“We believe publishing his name and photo was justified after taking into account the brutality of the crime, the immense effect it has had on the public, and the history the 18-year-old already had before this incident.”

Online, it seems that most netizens are actually siding with the magazine. Here’s a sampling of tweets made criticizing the legal response:

▼ “His name and face are going to get out online anyway. The law needs to change to get with the times.”

▼ “I ran to a nearby convenience store to buy a copy of my own, but they were sold out! Do we really have to consider the rights of criminals in horrible cases like this? They should show us who he is just based on how awful his crime was!”

▼ “That lawyer is nothing more than a ‘law-specialist.’ He’s not in charge of morals, nor is he an ally of justice. He has some nerve to say those things without taking any responsibility for them.”

▼ “My friend on Facebook told me that the juvenile protection law is there to make sure a kid’s whole life isn’t wrecked if he just steals a snack or something.”

Many Japanese net users agree that a minor’s information shouldn’t be made public for a small mistake, but they believe nature of this 18-year-old’s brutal crime is too severe to give him the same protection. Here are some comments on the matter:

“Someone who committed a crime like that could never hope to reform.”
“That lawyer would be saying something else if it was his own kid that had been killed.”
“Japan is paradise for criminals: even if you kill someone, the law protects you.”
“Feels kind of strange to call an 18-year-old a ‘juvenile.'”

Ultimately the law is there to protect its citizens, even those accused of a crime, so we will have to wait and see how this case continues to unfold. Either way, let’s hope that Ryota Uemura’s friends and family get the justice and closure that they deserve.

Source: Bengo4.com via Hachima Kiko, NHK NewsWeb
Featured/top image: Twitter (Edited by RocketNews24)