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Yasutoshi KAMATA





Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Robberies - Kidnapping - Mutilation
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: 1985 - 1994
Date of birth: 1940
Victims profile: Four women and an elementary school girl
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Status: Sentenced to death on March 24, 1999

Osaka High Court upholds death sentence on five-time killer

March 27, 2002

The Osaka High Court on Tuesday upheld a March 1999 Osaka District Court ruling that sentenced a 60-year-old unemployed man to death for murdering four women and an elementary school girl between 1985 and 1994.

Yasutoshi Kamata was guilty of ''cruel and inhuman crimes'' that deserve capital punishment, Presiding Judge  Hiroshi Fukushima said in handing down the sentence.

Kamata has pleaded not guilty, saying police forced him to confess to the killings. His defense counsel said he is likely to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Kamata abducted 9-year-old Kumiko Tsujikado on a road in Osaka and strangling her at his home in the city in January 1987, the ruling said.

He also strangled Fusae Azuma, 46, in May 1985, Midori Chinen, 19, in June that year, Kazue Suda, 45, in July 1993, and Kimiko Nakano, 38, in March 1994, according to the ruling. The court said Kamata killed the four elder victims for financial reasons.

He was also convicted of mutilating the bodies of Suda and Nakano and dumping them in the mountains in northern Osaka Prefecture.

Tuesday's high court ruling found Kamata also guilty of a charge of demanding a ransom of 30 million yen from Tsujikado's father and the girl's elementary school.

Previously, the district court had found him not guilty on that charge, citing the possibility that someone else took advantage of the kidnapping case to demand the money.


Kamata was born in 1940 and he lived in Osaka's Nishinari Ward at the time of the first murders.

Kamata's first murder took place in May 1985 when he allegedly strangled a housewife, Fusae Azuma, 46, in Osaka's Nishinari Ward. According to prosecutors, Kamata murdered the homemaker, of Joto Ward, Osaka, after quarreling with her.

In June the same year, he allegedly killed 19-year-old Midori Chinen, who had disappeared two months earlier while on her way to work at a home for the mentally handicapped in Tondabayashi, Osaka Prefecture. Kamata allegedly strangled this one in the same ward.

In January 1987, Kamata allegedly murdered Kumiko Tsujikado, a third-year primary school student of Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka, after luring her to his apartment. He then allegedly pretended the girl was still alive and telephoned her school to demand a 30 million yen ransom.

It's here that the murders stopped for a while. You see poor Kamata was caught thieving and imprisoned on two separate occasions. But as the saying goes, you can't keep a good man down.

In July 1993, about four months after finishing the second sentence, he allegedly strangled Kazue Suda, 45, a bar employee of Nishinari Ward, Osaka. In March the following year, he allegedly strangled 37-year-old Kimiko Nakano, a waitress of Chuo Ward, Osaka.

Prosecutors claimed Kamata murdered the women because he was pissed off by their requests for a loan. In an attempt to keep the bodies from discovery Kamata chopped up the remains of Wada and Nakano and disposed of them in the mountains.

But he got unlucky, he was caught not long afterwards. Kamata allegedly confessed to all the five murders during investigation but later denied any knowledge of the crimes and pleaded not guilty during the first hearing in March 1996.

The court admitted the testimony of a voice identification expert who said the voice of the person who made the ransom demand by telephone to Tsujikado's school was different from that of the suspect. But this wasn't enough for his release.

Oddly the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office took the rare step of treating three of the murders separately from the remaining two, and demanded the death penalty for both sets of murders. The prosecution said the string of murders which Kamata is accused of merits the unusual demand because his was ''a brutal and atrocious case rarely seen in the annals of crime in our country.''

The prosecution told Presiding Judge Nobuyuki Yokota that Kamata has ''a strong antisocial tendency and that there is no room for correction,'' adding the families of the victims sought the most extreme penalty.

The Wacky World of Murder



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