Were Junko Furuta’s murderers ever brought to justice? Inside the story
Junko Furuta’s murder is probably one of the most horrifying murders committed in the history of Japan. Furuta was a seventeen-year-old high school girl who was repeatedly raped, sodomized, and tortured for forty-four days before she eventually died in the hands of her captors. Thereafter, her torturers put her body in a fifty-five-gallon drum filled with concrete and disposed of it in a park.
Furuta endured the most sadistic torments leading up to her death. The sheer brutality of the heinous torment she suffered drew nationwide attention. But sadly it wasn’t enough to warrant a just punishment for Furuta’s abusers.
Furuta’s tragic murder
On November 25th, 1988, Junko Furuta was abducted on her way back from her part-time job by four teenage boys. They held Furuta as a captive in the house owned by the parents of one of the kidnappers in the Ayase district of Adachi, Tokyo. They also forced her to call her parents and tell them that she had run away, and is safely staying with her friend.
One of the kidnapper’s friends who was allegedly bullied into raping Furuta had alerted her family and authorities about the abduction. However, the two officers who were dispatched refused to examine the house, after they received information that no girl was residing on the premises.
During the course of her captivity, Furuta underwent unimaginable atrocities and oftentimes begged her captors to kill her, but they kept on assaulting her. However, on January 4th, 1989, the captors challenged Furuta to a game of Mahjong Solitaire. She ended up winning the game, which pissed the boys so much that they beat her to death.
Incredibly lenient verdicts
Two years after the crime, the authorities caught hold of Junko Furuta’s murderers, Hiroshi Miyano, Jō Ogura, Nobuharu Minato, and Yasushi Watanabe. The police uncovered their involvement in Furuta’s brutal murder when Hiroshi Miyano and Jo Ogura were arrested in another rape case. Though, most of the others who were involved in assaulting her were neither found nor tried by the Japanese Court.
At the trial, the four perpetrators pled guilty to “committing bodily injury that resulted in death”, rather than murder.
Since the four boys were legally juvenile at the time of the crime, the court sealed their identities during the criminal proceedings. However, a Japanese magazine dug up and published their identities because they believed that Furuta’s murderers did not deserve anonymity considering the cruelty of their crimes.
During the court proceedings, there were reports of people fainting in the courtroom after listening to the horrendous details of the crime. But despite the severity of their crime, the four were handed shockingly light prison terms, even for juvenile offenders.
Hiroshi Miyano, who was allegedly the main perpetrator of the crime, had ties to the Yakuza, a criminal organization. And this affiliation with the Yakuza reportedly contributed to the lenient verdict.
The court sentenced Minato to prison for a term between five and nine years. Similarly, Ogura received a term between five and ten years. Meanwhile, Watanabe was sent to prison for a term between five and seven years. And Miyano’s sentence of seventeen years was later bumped to twenty years after he tried appealing his verdict.
Where are Furuta’s murderers now?
Junko Furuta’s terrifying case has sparked international outrage and inspired many Japanese mangas & films. But despite the public outcry, each one of Furuta’s murderers is out of jail living a normal life while her family & friends still live in constant pain in the wake of her violent death.
Three out of the four murderers have already been re-offended and two of them even went to jail again. Following their release, Miyano & Ogura allegedly boasted about their role in the incomprehensible torment of Furuta.
Suffice to say, the justice system had abjectly failed Junko Furuta. She went through hell in the last forty-four days of her life and died in the most gruesome way possible, only to never receive the justice she rightly deserves.