Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Bitterness tinges retrial for Nepalese man
A Nepalese man who had been serving a life prison term for murdering a Japanese woman in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward in 1997 was recently granted a retrial. He was released from prison after his sentence was suspended, and he has left Japan for his homeland.
Although it is wonderful that his unjust confinement is now finally over, a number of problems have been left unresolved. First of all, those long 15 years of his life during which he was detained in a foreign country, underwent questioning and trials, and was imprisoned, will never be recovered.
In the case of this man, he is still somewhat better off, because his family never stopped believing in his innocence and kept supporting him throughout all this time. However, there are some recent examples of retrials granted more than 20 years after the crime occurred.
It is completely unacceptable to address such types of cases by simply saying "Oh, we seem to have made a mistake. We're very sorry." So what can actually be done to avoid similar occurrences in the future? Aren't there police officers who doubt whether an arrested person is in fact the real criminal as they interrogate that person? Furthermore, with the release of the Nepalese man, it means that the real murderer is still out there somewhere. Where is that person and what are they doing now?
Even with the retrial granted, it is extremely difficult to reopen the investigation now and capture the real criminal.
I wonder how the victim's bereaved family felt as they observed the recent news. This particular case attracted significant public attention at the time it occurred. One side of the victim showed a distinguished employee at a major Japanese firm. But she was discovered to have had a "second face" -- of a woman who simultaneously worked in the sex industry.
Regardless of how distinguished women may be, or at what major company they may work for, they are always "measured" by a different scale -- by their quality as "a woman." This always gives women a certain level of uneasiness in life. In the case of the murdered victim, I wonder if it wasn't her own desire to prove herself apart from her status at work that led her to be paid to have sexual intercourse with numerous men. At the time, a lot of people analyzed the case in this way, while overlapping the situation of many other women of that time with that of the victim.
News reports on the case revealed a number of personal matters in the victim's life, including her family background. Without doubt, this hurt her family even more. While the person who suffered the most in that case was the victim herself, her family also went through a number of hardships, and so did the Nepalese man and his family. To go a step further, there are still many women who experience the same kind of "uneasiness" in life as during the time the murder occurred.
What can we all learn from this case, and the man's granted retrial and his release from prison?
While I am happy to see him finally being able to return to his family with a smile, I can feel a certain sense of bitterness growing inside me. (By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
June 17, 2012(Mainichi Japan)