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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Just a media hype?

Reported by Daily Yomiuri, 05-12-00:

Youth held in Shinjuku nail bomb attack

A 17-year-old youth was arrested Monday in connection with a nail bomb attack on a video shop in the Kabukicho entertainment district of Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, police said.

The high school student from Tochigi Prefecture turned up at a police box about 400 meters from the video shop carrying a shotgun and 39 shells about 15 minutes after the 8:15 p.m. explosion and admitted throwing a nail bomb into the shop, police said.

The explosion burned the ceiling and walls of the shop and videos in the shop, but no one was injured, police said.

The youth was arrested at the police box on suspicion of violating the Firearms and Swords Possession Control Law.

As well as the shotgun and shells, which he said belonged to his grandfather, the youth was also carrying what looked like a handmade, softball-sized nail bomb, they said. Police quoted him as saying that he had thrown another nail bomb he had into the shop.

Police on Tuesday quoted the youth as saying, "I wanted to destroy people."

He told investigators of the Metropolitan Police Department and Shinjuku Police Station that "it could have been anybody."

Police said the bomb that exploded in the video shop and the one he was carrying when he went to the police box were stuffed with nails and had been designed to be lethal.

The youth's high school classmates said he had a strong interest in explosive substances and was a quiet and able student.

According to police, the youth said, "I lit the bomb and rolled it into the shop." He added, "I did not care where it exploded," they said.

He left his home in Tochigi Prefecture on Sunday, saying that he was going to a bookstore. He traveled to Shinjuku via Shibuya, leading police to believe that he intended to detonate the bomb in a busy entertainment district.

The bomb, which the youth said he had made at home, was constructed from a metal mug from which the handle had been removed. The mug was filled with explosive black powder of the type used in fireworks and a large number of 1.5-centimeter-long nails and was wrapped with plastic tape.

Police said the nail bomb was a crude device designed to be detonated with a string fuse.

Police are treating the case as a suspected violation of the Explosives Control Law.

According to students at the prefectural high school that the youth attends, he is a quiet student who does not have many friends. They said he has always received top marks and usually finishes first or second in examinations.

Copyright © Yomiuri Shimbun
Same category, reported by Asahi Shinbun, 19-12-00:

Loneliness, frustration behind teen's rampage

Loneliness drove a 17-year-old boy to attack eight passers-by with a metal baseball bat in Tokyo last weekend, experts say.

They said the Yokohama boy was frustrated at his relationship with his parents and lashed out at strangers because he could find no other way to vent his rage.

The boy was arrested Saturday night for the assault and battery incident near JR Shibuya Station and on Monday his case was referred to prosecutors.

Although he was in an excited state immediately after his arrest and spoke unintelligibly, police said he has since calmed down and expressed regret for injuring so many people.

In an interview with Asahi Shimbun, the boy's parents said they had been at their wits' end because of their son's violence. They said their son began to play truant from about the fourth grade in elementary school because he was bullied at school.

The family moved to their present home in Yokohama about 10 years ago.

The parents said their son became especially sensitive to what people said in his presence.

He showed signs of emotional instability from the first year of junior high school and began outpatient care.

After graduating from junior high school, he entered a high school correspondence course in Tokyo. Because he was not on good terms with his father, the boy was advised by a counselor to live away from his parents.

But he would often return to his parents' home in Yokohama when he wasn't feeling well.

When he was there, his mother would be the boy's conversation partner and helped him with his schoolwork. She accompanied him when he had to attend the correspondence course at high school twice a month.

He began demonstrating signs of violence from junior high school. The slightest comment or action by his mother would set him off and he would punch her in the face and arms. He told her that he hit her because of what she had said.

He showed considerable interest in the bus hijacking by a 17-year-old boy in Saga in May, but told his mother that he would never do anything like that.

He had few friends and often complained that he wanted more.

Since this fall, he displayed increasing signs of emotional instability and moved back to the Yokohama home. His parents recalled him saying, ``I look down on everyone. I feel like I have seen the underside of humans. I want to kill everyone and then die myself.'' They said they didn't understand why he said such things.

On the day of the Shibuya rampage, the boy was awakened from a nap when his parents got into an argument. When the father shouted at the mother that ``a 17-year-old is an adult,'' the boy suddenly became excited and attacked the father. The mother tried to intervene, only to be attacked by her son. The father then wrestled his son to the floor and began punching him. The mother called police at around 5:40 p.m. and asked them to restore order.

According to police, the boy appeared excited at first, but when they led him to another room, he said he never hit his parents. Officers asked the boy what he wanted to be when he grew up and he said a ``civil servant.''

He calmed down after an hour and apologized along with his parents to the police.

Soon after the police left, the boy left the house and went to Shibuya.

The mother said her son had become increasingly violent and could not be controlled.

``I didn't know what to do,'' she said. ``I even thought how much better it would be if he died.''

The father also apologized to the victims of the attack and said he would tell his son to spend the rest of his life trying to atone for the crime.

Experts said loneliness probably prompted the attack.

Shizuo Machizawa, a professor of psychiatry at Rikkyo University, noted that in the past troubled teenagers would attack people in groups, not by themselves.

He said the sense of isolation and loneliness that many youngsters feel today prompts them to commit crimes on the spur of the moment.

''Isolation leads to daydreaming, and the daydreams turn into illusion and the illusion turns into delusion,'' Machizawa said. ''I think in the background lies a severance of parent-child ties or a lack of communication with family members. Such children do not commit crimes unless they are alone.

In order to remove the feeling of isolation, dialogue with family members in the presence of a doctor should be held in order to recover the sense that the child is part of a whole, and a member of the family.

Copyright by Asahi Shimbun
Reported by Nando Times, Jan. 1, 2001:

Murder of family stuns Japanese

TOKYO (December 31, 2000 5:51 p.m. EST www.nandotimes.com) - A family of four was found stabbed to death in their Tokyo home, police said Sunday. The incident was the latest in a series of violent crimes that have stunned this usually placid nation.

A 44-year-old man was discovered on the first floor of the house with cuts on his neck and body, a spokesman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police said on condition of anonymity.

The man's wife, 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son were found stabbed to death on the second floor, he added. The spokesman declined further comment and did not release the victims' names.

National broadcaster NHK said police believe the four were probably murdered and robbed because the house was found in disarray.

The murders were the top story on TV news broadcasts here as Japan struggles to make sense of a recent wave of violent crimes. Last week, two gunmen fired on a car transporting cash in Tokyo, killing one man and taking off with about $400,000.

Hours later, in central Japan, two teenagers were arrested in the fatal stabbing of a taxi driver. The 16-year-old unemployed male and a female high school student allegedly stole $130 from the driver.

Such violence is still rare for this nation, but crime rates are on the rise.

Copyright ツゥ 2000 Nando Media
Thomas wrote:

Just a media hype?

Alex says:

Interesting question. A while ago I have analyzed in a study for an Asian university the media reporting about youth suicide in East Asia. I agree, this is a different issue. But in my humble opinion it has some similiarities. Because in most cases the crime, whether it is against other people or the suspect himself, the suspect is described as "victim of the society" or therewith related circumstances - in case (!) the suspect is young. But if you analyze the statistics of crime, you will see that the percentage of crime, no matter if it is against other people or the suspect himself, far more criminal actions are conducted by older people. In my analysis it even turned out, that far more old people make suicide than young people - but nobody cares, despite that in most cases they are much more "victims of the society" or related circumstances than young teenagers, who generally have far more options in their life than older people.

Just my 2 cents,
After reading the posted article regarding the thread (Sensationalism) with the bombing that occurred in Shinjuku, I was reminded of when it actually took place and the reactions I remember from Japanese friends. When this had happened, I was living in Kanagawa-ken at the time.

There was a surprise from my family members (who are Japanese) that this had happened as a kid. However, the impression I received and still is the same is that society in Japan in the larger cities is deteriorating when a youth. I haven't done any "studies," but only observed as a resident in the country (1990-96, and 1998-01).

I agree that adults commit most crime. However, the rate of crimes committed by youth has been on the increase. I have family that live in the Daiyama section of Shibuya, which is a quite nice area with boutiques, etc. Through the years, graffiti has been a growing problem. When I returned to live in Japan the 2nd time, it was really evident in that area. Bozuzoko groups had been on the rise, and had been more violent and destructive. Whereas 10 years ago, they just road on their motorcycles, making a lot of noise with their bikes, stirring up the police creating long drawn out chases. Now they are larger in numbers. I had the "treat" to watch a group in Sendai that painted their faces white. I carried baseball bats, swinging at pedestrians crossing at intersections, as the "bozo's" rode their motorcycles against traffic, ignoring signals, etc. I was almost hit while crossing at one point crossing the main street. The police were chasing these guys for at least an hour.

As for suicides, there is an increase in the youth. Peer pressure has increased so much in the schools that bullies are rising, adding to the pressure. I recall hearing in the news in the past couple of years, of quite a few suicides from this. There are shows on Japanese TV that address the problem quite regularly. Academics are decreasing with the "new generation" as compared to the last generation. Kids still attend after hour schools, but there is a decline at the same time. Chapatsu is on the rise, and is the cool thing for many high school kids, especially in Tokyo (namely in Shibuya). If you go to Shibuya on a Friday night, just sit at the train station there and watch it. Many kids travel from outside the area to "show themselves." It is quite a sight. It is a fashion/fad, and the attitude follows too. I would almost bet that within the next 10 years, the major cities in Japan will follow the same problems that the states have been having with almost the same frequency.

I still think that Japan is still by far a much safer country than in the states, though. You can still walk the streets late at night in the bigger cities, without having the same fear as if you were walking in Brooklyn at 1:00 am.

Wow, Dluxon, that sounded as if it came from the heart and its very sad that "normal" people have to live with these trails and turbulent as the youth ride on by without a real care for the effects on the neighbouring families, and as moyashi said I also hope that the schools can help with the behaviour of these bored and restless youths.🙂
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