I live in Ayase, a nice little suburb on the Tokyo city limits of Adachi-ku. It is not a very well known area (neighboring Kameari is famous for the anime “Kochikame“), save for crime-related issues. First, Tokyo Detention Center is a 10 minute walk from the station. It is the successor institution to the now-closed Sugamo Prison and has hosted a cavalcade of famous prisoners, recently the fallen star and former Livedoor president Takafumi Horie and Aum Supreme Truth cult leader Shoko Asahara (who recently ran out of appeals in his death penalty case).
Also, some famously heinous crimes have taken place here:
1. A man who was convicted with a suspended sentence in Hokkaido for imprisoning a 20-year-old woman for two weeks in his home in 2001 repeated his crime in 2004 when he lured an 18-year-old Hyogo Prefecture woman he met in a chat room into his apartment in Ayase. Just as he had done in the first incident, he used a dog collar to keep the woman under wraps. She escaped after 3 months but has suffered from PTSD ever since. The man was not arrested until May 2005 (Wikipedia seems to suggest that he was able to claim psychological troubles to avoid arrest, perhaps due to being from a prominent Aomori prefecture family), at which time more than 1,000 “human pet” themed adult video games were confiscated from his apartment. I first heard about this when apartment hunting because a room was open in the same building where the crime took place. We ended up not taking it partly for the creepiness factor but mainly because it was too expensive considering its distance from the station.
2. In 1989, a group of at least 6 young men (4 of whom were successfully prosecuted; all were between 16 and 18, under the age of majority in Japan of 20) imprisoned a 19-year-old high school girl in one of the boy’s homes (located in Ayase) for 41 days, raping and abusing her until she finally died. The boys then placed the girl in a barrel, filled it with concrete, and hid the barrel in Wakasu, Koto-ku, Tokyo. The incident was only discovered after one of the boys confessed to it when police arrested him for another crime.
So as I get to know my area a little better, I plan to keep track of some of the news about town. This time up, we have an murder-attempted-suicide:
80-year-old man stabbed to death, wife severely injured in apparent murder-suicide attempt (Adachi Ward, Tokyo)
August 10, 2007
At approximately 8:10PM on August 9, a passerby reported to 110 (Japan’s 911) that a man had collapsed in the doorway of a hardware store in Towa, Adachi Ward 2-chome. Tokyo Metropolitan Police Ayase Precinct sped to the scene and found the 80-year-old store own stabbed in the abdomen. He died almost immediately after beeing rushed to a nearby hospital. His wife (age 75) was found in the 2nd floor bathroom with severe stab wounds to her stomach. She told police that she stabbed her husband and then tried to kill herself. The police view the incident as a non-consensual shinju (murder-suicide) and are investigating the wife’s motive.
Investigators say the man fled his house and asked passersby for help, saying his wife had stabbed him. A suicide note apparently written by the wife was found at the scene.