Kanagawa Masahiro


Man on death row for Ibaraki stabbings withdraws appeal

December 28,2009

A man convicted of murder and attempted murder for a series of random stabbings last year in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, withdrew his appeal Monday against the death sentence imposed by a district court, court officials said.

The death sentence for Masahiro Kanagawa, 26, is expected to be finalized Jan 5, the day after the deadline for filing an appeal against the Dec. 18 ruling by the Mito District Court, as a convicted person cannot re-lodge an appeal after retracting it under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

In issuing the death sentence, as sought by prosecutors, the court said Kanagawa committed the crime to achieve his wish to be executed and that the act was extremely selfish.

Kanagawa’s lawyer appealed the ruling immediately.

‘‘The ruling was based on their arbitrary interpretation of the incident and the truth will be buried in the darkness forever,’’ Kanagawa wrote recently in a reply to Kyodo News from a detention facility in Mito. He also wrote that he would withdraw the appeal on Monday.

According to the court ruling, Kanagawa fatally stabbed Yoshikazu Miura, 72, at Miura’s home in Tsuchiura on March 19, 2008 and went on a stabbing rampage four days later at Arakawaoki Station in the eastern Japanese city, killing Takahiro Yamakami, 27, and wounding seven others.

Kanagawa was quoted as telling investigators that he had carried out the attacks because he wanted to end his boring life by being executed.


Ibaraki station stabber gets his wish: the death sentence

Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009

MITO, Ibaraki Pref. (Kyodo) A man who says he wants to end his boring life by being executed appeared to get his wish Friday when he was sentenced to hang for a stabbing spree last year that claimed two lives and left seven people wounded in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture.

News photo

No mercy sought, given: Masahiro Kanagawa, who randomly stabbed two people to death and injured seven others last year in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, stands Friday before the Mito District Court, which sentenced him to hang. KYODO PHOTO

The Mito District Court sentenced Masahiro Kanagawa, 26, to death — the very idea that motivated him to carry out the stabbings — after psychiatric examinations deemed him mentally competent to be held legally responsible for his actions.

On March 19, 2008, Kanagawa fatally stabbed Yoshikazu Miura, 72, at Miura's home in Tsuchiura and went on a second attack four days later at Arakawaoki Station, killing Takahiro Yamakami, 27, and wounding the seven others.

"It is a grave case not seen before in our country's history of criminal cases, and the defendant has shown no signs of remorse," Judge Shinichi Suzushima said.

Prosecutors said the case may have influenced another stabbing spree in Tokyo's Akihabara district two months later, which was followed by a similar attack the next month.

They said Kanagawa deserved capital punishment because he tried to "fulfill his death wish by taking people's lives and get a death sentence," and he cannot be rehabilitated.

The defense argued for life imprisonment, saying Kanagawa has a personality disorder that put him in a state of diminished capacity at the time of the attacks.

Throughout his police questioning and trial sessions, Kanagawa claimed he went on the bloody rampage with the aim of being sent to the gallows.

In an interview on Dec. 11, Kanagawa repeated his wish to get the death penalty.


Ibaraki slashing suspect admitted murder in e-mail to mom
Saturday, March 29, 2008

MITO, Ibaraki Pref. (Kyodo) The man arrested in connection with a stabbing spree Sunday in Ibaraki Prefecture that left one person dead and seven wounded had sent an e-mail to his mother hinting he had killed an old man and would carry out further killings, police said Friday.

"I am the killer and there will be more victims," Masahiro Kanagawa, 24, wrote in the e-mail, the sources said, referring to the March 19 murder of Yoshikazu Miura, 72, in Tsuchiura. Police face renewed criticism for their failure to prevent the stabbing spree because they knew about the e-mail beforehand. Ibaraki Police Chief Akira Kokaze has only voiced "regrets" over the failed manhunt.

Police said Kanagawa told investigators after his arrest that he thought he would be sentenced to death if he killed multiple victims.

Kanagawa has also told investigators he feels no remorse, even over the slaying of Miura.

"I'm unrepentant. I don't feel regret," Masahiro Kanagawa, 24, was quoted by the sources as telling investigators during questioning, referring to the March 19 murder of Yoshikazu Miura, 72, in Tsuchiura in the prefecture.

Kanagawa was wanted in Miura's fatal stabbing when he was arrested Sunday after allegedly going on the stabbing spree at and around JR Arakawaoki Station on the Joban Line in Tsuchiura.

Kanagawa had originally intended to kill his sister at his home in Tsuchiura but could not find her, investigators said. Later, he went to the elementary school he once attended with two knives to kill someone there.

But he abandoned the idea because the school was crowded due to a commencement ceremony. He then happened to find Miura while searching for a target, the sources said.

Kanagawa, who is known to have placed a phone call to police the day before the stabbing spree, identified himself during the call as "Masahiro Kanagawa" and as the "culprit of the murder of a man aged about 70," apparently in an attempt to taunt police. He used his mobile phone to place the call from near Arakawaoki Station at 12:42 p.m. last Saturday.

In the call, Kanagawa refused to say where he was but told police, "Catch me quickly," the sources said.

In the stabbing spree, Takahiro Yamakami, 27, was killed, while seven other people were wounded. Among the seven injured, two — a 62-year-old female company worker and an 18-year-old male high school student — are in serious condition.