Suspect was almost cleared on a legal loophole, only to be snagged by a different legal loophole.

On 6 October, 2009 a 17-year-old girl was sexually assaulted on the grounds of a Shinto shrine in the Miyamae Ward of Kawasaki City. Despite being an especially heinous crime, in a place of worship no less, the rapist was never found.

The case had gone cold for the next ten years until 9 October 2019 when DNA matching the suspect in this case was found when 38-year-old So Kurokawa of nearby Yokohama City was arrested on a completely unrelated charge. However, in a truly bitter stroke of bad luck, the statute of limitations for the rape had expired on 5 October –- only four days earlier.

And so, police were forced to let the suspect go at that time.

Refusing to let this slide, the police quickly took action and began investigating all of Kurokawa’s movements over the past ten years, aware of a technicality in the Japanese law that states a statute of limitations is suspended whenever the suspect is not on Japanese soil.

This meant that time was of the essence, as they had already lost four days and had no idea if the suspect had ever gone abroad, let alone for how long.

In the end, they found that over the past ten years he had stepped outside the country on a number of occasions totaling about two months overseas. This gave them ample time to swoop in and make the arrest on 12 November. Kurokawa is currently denying the charges saying, “I don’t remember.”

With a last-minute Hail Mary move against a ticking clock, this arrest seems straight out of a TV show and many online felt the same.

“I remember hearing about the statute of limitations thing on a detective show, but never saw it in real life.”
“It’s disgusting how the person who committed the rape doesn’t even remember, while the victim has to remember their whole life.”
“Don’t they have to convict him within the extended statute of limitations too? That’s going to be tight.”
“I’m glad they caught him, but what’s the point of the statute of limitations in the first place?”
“This was in Detective Conan once.”
“What kind of creepy defense is, ‘I don’t remember’ supposed to be? Wouldn’t any normal innocent person just say ‘I didn’t do it,’ instead?”
“That happened in Final Cut with Kazuya Kamenashi!”

In the event that a conviction has to be made within the two-month extension, the DNA evidence and weak denial of the suspect should make it relatively easy. A successful ID by the victim will also help, but unfortunately cause her to revisit that dark time once again.

As for the police, we often make light of their occasional foibles on this website, but it’s certainly worth noting that for every officer moonlighting as a sex worker or stabbing rookies, there are also great cops out there working hard to serve justice, no matter how cold.

Source: NHK News Web, Kyodo News, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!