Murder of Airi Kinoshita
In 2005, Airi Kinoshita (木下あいり Kinoshita Airi,
April 10, 1998 – November 22, 2005), who was a seven-year-old
first grade student from the Japanese city of Hiroshima, she was
sexually assaulted and murdered by Jose Manuel Torres Yake (born
February 1972). He assumed the false name Juan Carlos Pizarro Yagi.
Yake was wanted for a child sexual abuse charge at that time in
An autopsy revealed that she had been murdered
within 90 minutes of leaving school around lunchtime on Tuesday,
November 22, 2005. She died of suffocation caused by pressure to
A local resident spotted the tape-bound
cardboard box in which her body was found in a vacant lot in
Hiroshima's Aki Ward. The box had been used as packaging for an
oven sold in Higashi. Police said they suspected her killer lured
Airi away as she was walking home and strangled her soon
afterwards. Her schoolbag was found alongside a road about 300
meters away. She had been carrying a so-called crime prevention
buzzer but it was missing when her body was found.
300 people attended her funeral in Yatsushiro,
Kumamoto Prefecture, her father Kenichi's hometown. The mourners
included Ground Self-Defense Force members who served with her
father, a soldier. "I was deeply shocked when I was told by police
that she was probably murdered," her father said in an address
during the funeral. "I feel animosity toward the person who
committed the crime. I hope the culprit is caught soon."
Arrest and trial
Japanese police arrested Torres on November 30,
2005. He insisted that he was a Peruvian of Japanese descent.
Before the arrest, the Japanese mass media suspected that the
criminal was an otaku (nerd), but this proved to be false.
At first Airi's real name was reported in the
Japanese mass media. However when it was revealed that she had
been sexually assaulted, the Japanese media stopped using her real
name. Despite this, Airi's relatives wanted her real name to be
reported. On June 26, 2006, her father Kenichi said:
Airi is not 'a Hiroshima first-grader'. She
lived here. It is all right to use her name.
After this speech, Japanese mass media resumed
reporting Airi's real name. The speech made the name Airi
Kinoshita famous in Japan.
On July 4, 2006, the Hiroshima District Court
sentenced Torres to life imprisonment for sexually assaulting and
killing the girl, citing his haphazardness. He had dumped the
girl's body close to his apartment. Prosecutors appealed against
the leniency of the sentence, demanding the death penalty. On
December 9, 2008, the Hiroshima High Court reversed and remanded
the original verdict. However, the Supreme Court of Japan demanded
them to continue his trial. The Hiroshima High Court upheld the
life sentence, resulting in the end of his trial because they had
not submitted an additional appeal by August 12, 2010.
Kinoshita's death caused parents to panic in
Japan, which had been thought to be a "safe society".
Yake faced a child sexual charge in Peru, and
so the incident also gave influence on Latin America. A
journalist, Kent Paterson, indicated him into debates of femicides
in Latin America.
Killer of girl, 7, gets life
Use caution on parole, Hiroshima judge warns
July 5, 2006
HIROSHIMA – A Peruvian man was sentenced
Tuesday to life in prison for sexually assaulting and killing a
7-year-old girl in the city of Hiroshima last November in a case
that led to a clampdown on immigration rules.
The crime by Jose Manuel Torres Yagi, 34, was
“vicious and coldblooded” and he had intended to molest and kill
Airi Kinoshita, presiding Judge Hiromichi Iwakura of the Hiroshima
District Court said, rejecting the defense argument that he bore
Prosecutors had demanded he be put to death.
Iwakura stopped short of that punishment,
saying, “The crime was not premeditated and the number of victims
remains at one. We cannot say it is impossible for the defendant
to be rehabilitated.”
But the judge added an unusual caution: “The
defendant must pay throughout his life, and the court expects his
parole to be decided with caution.”
Observers said the court’s decision not to give
the death sentence, but to ask that parole be examined carefully,
may add fuel to the debate about whether life imprisonment without
parole should replace the death sentence.
Yagi, who entered Japan on a fake passport,
strangled Kinoshita on Nov. 22 either in or near his apartment in
Aki Ward. He left her body in a cardboard box in a vacant lot near
his home, the court found.
Prosecutors said Yagi, who earlier reports also
identified as Yake, should hang to show the court takes a strong
stand against crimes against kids.
Yagi’s lawyers sought leniency, saying he had
not intended to kill the girl and had apologized for her death.
His lawyers also had asked the court to give
the Peruvian a psychiatric examination because he had said he
“heard voices of the devil,” but the request was turned down.
Yagi’s trial was quicker than has been the
norm. It began May 15 and was sped up by using new pretrial
procedures that narrow down the points of argument.
Kenichi Kinoshita, 39, the victim’s father,
told reporters prior to the sentencing “the culprit effectively
killed her twice” by sexually assaulting her and then strangling
her, and he deserved the death penalty.
After the ruling, he expressed strong
“I have been working hard for revenge all this
time, but the death sentence was not given to him,” he told
reporters. “It’s like a defeat in the court battle. I feel so
frustrated that I couldn’t have any vengeance.”
JAPAN: Slain girl's dad wants details of
Father tells media not to show restraint in
covering sexual assault, murder of his daughter
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Hiroshima --- The father of a 7-year-old girl
who was slain in Hiroshima last November expressed anger Monday at
the man charged with molesting and killing her and urged the media
not to show restraint in reporting the nature of the crime so the
public will better understand the truth.
"Sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl is
equivalent to torture," Kenichi Kinoshita, 39, told reporters
ahead of the ruling in the trial of Jose Manuel Torres Yake, 34,
scheduled for July 4 by the Hiroshima District Court.
Prosecutors have demanded the death penalty for
Yake, a Peruvian who is also accused of entering Japan on a fake
passport, for the murder of Airi Kinoshita. When police were
trying to establish his identity with Peruvian authorities, they
also learned Yake was linked to a molestation case there.
"The culprit effectively killed her twice (by
sexually assaulting her). I believe he deserves the death
penalty," Kinoshita said.
He said the media may report the details of the
molestation to help prevent further sex crimes.
"It is all right that details of the sexual
assault are reported if such reporting results in preventing
sexual crimes," he said, adding the media do not have to withhold
his daughter's name.
"Airi is not 'a Hiroshima first-grader.' She
lived here. It is all right to use her name," he said.
Yake is accused of strangling the girl at an
unspecified location in or near his apartment in Aki Ward,
Hiroshima, on Nov. 22, putting her body in a cardboard box and
leaving it in a nearby vacant lot.
Slain girl’s blood found in apartment
December 22, 2005
HIROSHIMA – Police said Wednesday that
bloodstains found in the apartment of murder suspect Jose Manuel
Torres Yake match the DNA of the 7-year-old victim.
Torres Yake, a 33-year-old Peruvian, has
reportedly told police that Airi Kinoshita did not enter his
apartment and that he killed her outside the unit. Police have
said they also found the girl’s hair inside the apartment.
Torres Yake is suspected of murdering Kinoshita
on Nov. 22, putting her body into a cardboard box and dumping it
in an empty lot.
Prosecutors officially charged Torres Yake on
Wednesday with molesting, murdering and dumping the girl’s body.
Despite earlier denials by the suspect of an
intent to kill, investigative sources alleged that he has changed
his story and told investigators he heard an internal voice
saying, “Kill her” and “Make her extinct.”
Hiroshima murder suspect had poor life,
broken home in Peru
December 20, 2005
Jose Manuel Torres Yake, a 33-year-old Peruvian
of Japanese descent arrested in the murder of a 7-year-old girl in
Hiroshima in November, first came to Japan under an assumed name
in April 2004.
When he was arrested Nov. 30, his name was
released to the media as Juan Carlos Pizarro Yagi — the name
stated in his passport — and his age was given as 30, but Peruvian
authorities later confirmed his true identity based on
fingerprints supplied by Japanese police.
All Peruvians have to register their
fingerprints when they turn 18.
Torres Yake hails from Guadalupe, a town of
35,000 near the Pacific Ocean about 600 km north of Lima that has
several families of Japanese ancestry.
There is no industry to speak of in the town,
and after leaving school, young people tend to go to neighboring
cities, including Trujillo and Chiclayo, in search of work or for
According to his birth registration, Torres
Yake was born in 1972 and is the youngest of four children, the
others being a brother and two sisters.
His family was poor. His father tried to make a
living by selling drinks from a stall. His maternal grandfather is
thought to have immigrated from Nakagusuku, Okinawa.
His older brother was reportedly a good
student, but Torres Yake did not perform well at elementary
school, failing exams and falling two years behind his classmates,
a former teacher said.
Around that time, too, he was separated from
his father, as his parents divorced and the children stayed with
their mother. But later, after dropping out of junior high school,
he sometimes helped his father or found jobs on construction
When Torres Yake was in his early 20s, he left
his hometown, reportedly defying an order to appear before a
court, and ended up in Lima, where he met his wife. He now has an
8-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter.
His wife said he had wanted to go to Japan,
where all his siblings were already living, to earn money so they
could buy a house, but that as long as the court order against him
was effective, he faced detention if he tried to leave Peru.
He therefore illegally changed his resident
registration in October 2002 to Juan Carlos Pizarro Yagi,
allegedly paying $4,000 to do so.
Eighteen months later, in April 2004, he
entered Japan under that name and went to the city of Suzuka, Mie
Prefecture, to live with one of his sisters and her husband, and
began to engage in packaging work with his brother-in-law.
About a month later, he moved to Kure,
Hiroshima Prefecture, where his older brother was living, but
returned to Suzuka after two months, this time to live with his
oldest sister’s family.
In summer 2004, he found work at an
automobile-related plant as a transporter but was fired about six
months later. One of his supervisors said: “His attitude at work
was very bad. He even threw his work gloves at us.”
Last January, he moved to an apartment in
Hiroshima that his sister found for him, but failed to get a
steady job. According to a 31-year-old Peruvian acquaintance of
his, he fell behind on his rent.
Then in July, he found work at an auto-related
plant in Kaita, east of Hiroshima.
But again his attitude was poor, and he was
absent one or two days a week. A former coworker, who wished to
remain anonymous, said Torres Yake was not popular with his
Peruvian colleagues, and he allegedly only spoke to female
Some company workers, apparently unnerved by
his behavior, reported about him to the Kaita Police Station, but
an officer dismissed their complaint, saying “He is not causing
Due to his repeated absence from work, Torres
Yake was again fired and he moved to an apartment in Hiroshima’s
Aki Ward, where a cousin of his was living.
At noon on Nov. 22, Airi Kinoshita, 7, passed
by the stone wall in front of his apartment where he often sat.
“I felt my daughter might look like this if she
carried a satchel on her back,” police quoted him as saying.
Investigators say he effectively confessed to
killing Kinoshita, quoting him as saying he had a sort of mental
blackout at the time and does not remember what happened.