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Few stories are as terrifying as the murder of Junko Furuta, also known as 44 Days of Hell. But did the authorities ever catch her killers?

The murder of Junko Furuta: Did they ever catch her grisly killers?

When Hiroshi Miyano asked out a popular teenage girl in his high school named Junko Furtua, he was sure she would say yes. Besides, no one ever rejects Hiroshi Miyano. Especially since he started to associate with the notorious Yakuza. When Junko declined his proposal, rage-filled his body, and revenge was plotted. 

Junko Furuta attended a high school in Misato, in Saitama Prefecture, Japan, in the late 1980s. She was well-liked, maintained good grades, and upheld a “good girl” reputation with a bright future ahead of her. Little did she know that her rejection of the school’s bully would end her life.  

The seventeen-year-old endured a forty-four-day nightmare of unimaginable violence of torture. Her classmates kidnapped her and violated her body daily inevitably leading to the murder of Junko Furuta, but were the killers ever brought to justice? 

A diversion and a kidnapping 

On November 25th, 1988, Junko was riding her bike home from her job when a young boy named Minato kicked her off, making her hit the ground. The attack was intentional, creating a public diversion to what would happen next. At this point Miyano stepped in, pretending to be an innocent and concerned bystander. After helping her up, he asked if she wanted an escort home, which Furuta accepted.

Along with other minors, they smuggled her to Shinji Minato’s parents’ home in the Ayase district of Adachi, Tokyo. The parents noticed how frequently Furuta was present in their home. When they inquired about her, their son said she was the girlfriend of one of his friends. The parent’s dismissed any concerns they had from that point on. 

Although, when the parents realized she was a captive, they decided not to act due to the fear of retaliation from Hiroshi Miyano, who was known to have Yakuza connections — a criminal organization known for murders, drug trafficking, and human trafficking. 

During her kidnapping, the criminal minors made Furuta call her parents and tell them she had run away and was staying with a friend. This prolonged the inevitable search for Junko Furuta after she disappeared

Forty-four-day nightmare in captivity 

For the next forty-four days, Junko endured unspeakable acts of torture from her captures. The adored high school student was sexually assaulted incessantly, abused with inanimate objects, burned, and beaten. The excruciating pain resulted in internal organ failure and the shrinking of the brain

Due to the extremities of her torture, Furuta begged and pleaded to end her life so that her suffering would cease. According to Japanese Inside: 

“Instead, on January 4, 1989, they challenged her to a game of Mahjong solitaire. She won, and that pissed the boys off, so they treated her to a beating with an iron barbell and fire by setting her legs, arms, face, and stomach alight after pouring lighter fluid on them.” 

Her body went into shock, and she died the next day. The boys then put her body in a trash barrel filled with cement and left the body in the back of the truck. Junko Furuta never saw her family and loved ones ever again. 

Did authorities ever catch her grisly killers?

The court originally held the names of the murderers & rapists of Junko Furuta because they were juveniles at the time. However, a journalist from Shūkan Bunshun magazine dug up the records and published their names. The journalist believed that their crimes against Juko Furuta were so horrific that they didn’t deserve their human right upheld. 

The young boys that committed the murder of Junko Futura were: Hiroshi Miyano who was eighteen years old at the time of the crime and eventually changed his name to Hiroshi Yokoyama. 

Jo Ogura was also eighteen years old at the time of the crime, now he’s known as Jo Kamisaku. Finally, Shinji Minato was sixteen-year-old at the time of the crime (some sources refer to him as Nobuharu Minato) and Yasushi Watanabe was seventeen-years-old at the time.

Since the murderers were all minors, the court gave incomprehensibly light sentences for each of the rapists/perpetrators. For example, Hiroshi Miyano was sentenced to twenty years, Shinji Minato was sentenced to five to nine years, Jo Ogura served eight years, and Yasushi Watanabe served five to seven years. By now, each of them has been released from jail.

The murder of Junko Furuta

Junko Furuta made several attempts to save her own life. First, she tried calling the police, but she was caught and punished for trying to escape before she could even speak into the phone. In addition, a boy who was invited over to Shinji Minato’s home witnessed the violence toward Furuta and called the police. 

When the police showed up, Shinji Minato’s parents lied and claimed no teenage girl was in their house. It has been rumored that Shinji’s mother then tried to help Furuta to escape, but for the most part, his parents were known for turning the other way while a young girl was painfully raped & tortured. 

Junko Furuta’s life was not in vain. On the contrary, her story gained international attention and outrage. As a result, several movies, manga, and novels were created based on the murder of Junko Furuta, creating awareness of her story.

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