Extremely violent crime story. Reader discretion advised.
It was nearly 12 years after Junko died an extremely painful death that one of her killers, 33-year-old Jo Kamisaku, stood in the Tokyo District Court in July 2004 facing his first trial session for holding a 27-year-old male acquaintance captive for several hours and assaulting him continually for over 5 hours. TakatoshiIsono, the victim of the assault, earned Kamisaku’s wrath just by being the object of desire to the girl that Kamisaku was attracted to, or so Kamisaku believed.
Kamisaku, who was described as a ‘gangster’ by the prosecutors, caught hold of Isono on May 19, beat him up, shoved him into the trunk of his car before driving down to a bar owned by his mother in Misato, where he was further beaten up for nearly four hours. Give his violent past, it was easy for the prosecution to prove that the accused was dangerous and deserved no leniency. Kamisaku was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Sometime in 2011, Kamisaku completed his seven years in prison and was released back into the society as a 40-year-old who had spent 15 years of his life behind bars, having been first sentenced to seven years in prison as a 17-year-old in 1990. He had been out for just 5 years before he was sent back to prison for the above-mentioned assault in 2004.
The attempted ‘reformation and rehabilitation’ of Kamisaku had badly failed, and he was back in prison soon enough. He was not remorseful in the least for having committed the diabolic crime that he and three of his friends had committed in 1988. The monstrosities they wreaked on a 16-year-oldgirl over a period of 41 days shocked the conscience of the nation and the world. His being a juvenile alone prevented a sure death sentence.
November 25, 1998 was a normal day in the life of 16-year-old Junko Furuta, who had not imagined in her scariest of nightmares that it could turn into the last day of her freedom and the first day of the torture that was to end only in her painfully protracted death preceded by 41 days of incessant torture of the most inhuman kind.
It was the day when four teenaged boys – all of them under 17 – kidnapped her, and held her captive at Kamisaku’s house for the next 44 days. The torture began the first day itself. She was repeatedly raped by all four boys. Since she had gone missing suddenly, there was a clear danger of her parents getting worried and reporting the matter to the police, which could lead to a manhunt. To eliminate the possibility, the boys made her call her parents and tell them that she had she had left home and had gone away, but was with her friends and was safe.
According to the confession made by the boys, they kept her under captivity and took turns raping her repeatedly for a total of over 400 times for some 41 days. The rapes began from day one. Reports and secondary accounts state that she was treated with extraordinary cruelty. She was fed cockroaches and was also forced to drink her own urine. What really prompted this kind of behaviour on the part of the boys is not really clear. She was forced to masturbate, was burnt with cigarettes repeatedly, and even foreign objects were introduced in her vagina and anus.
The house belonged to the parents of one of the boys, and they lived there. Junko did plead with them. But they were too scared of one of the four guys, who was a small fish in a local gang of goons. So, they did not help the girl out of plain fear.
On December 1, 1988, cruelty went several notches up, and Junko was severely beaten up for a number of times. She was hung from the ceiling and was used as a punch bag with the guys punching her body constantly. Her nose was filled by her own blood to the extent that she could only breathe through her mouth. When she was brought down from the ceiling, dumbbells were dropped on her stomach. The damage done to her internal organs was considerable, which is why she could not hold water inside despite being thirsty. When she asked for water and was given some to drink, she vomited it out almost as soon as she drunk it.
She also made an attempt to escape, but was caught and was punished by being burnt with cigarette butts. Inflammable liquid was poured on her arms and legs and she was set on fire for having tried to run away. Not just that; a bottle was also inserted up her anus causing injury.
Ten days later, on December 10, 1988, when she could not walk properly due to severe burns on the legs, she was beaten up by bamboo sticks. According to some unconfirmed reports, the fireworks were inserted in her anus and were lit. She was beaten up by golf clubs and her hands were smashed by weights used for exercising and her nails were also cracked to inflict pain.
Ten days later, the boys poured hot wax on her face and her eyelids were reportedly burnt by cigarette lighter, and she was not only stabbed with sewing needles in the chest region, but her left nipple was also clipped with a plier and destroyed. Due to the insertion of objects in her vagina, she bled heavily, and was unable to urinate properly. The injuries to her private parts were so severe that it took over half an hour to crawl downstairs to use the lavatory to urinate. Her eardrums were also severely damage though there is not as much clarity about the real cause of the damage.
On the 40th day of her captivity, Junk virtually begged her abductors to kill her and end her unbearable suffering. But that was not to happen for another couple of days.
On January 4, 1989, the boys got furious over something and wanted to take it out on Furuta. They started hitting Furuta’s mutilated body with an iron barbell, and kept on until she started bleeding from her mouth. They also subjected her face and eyes to the flame of a candle. Thereafter, highly inflammable lighter fluid was poured on her arms and legs and she was set on fire alive. The fire was put out soon, but not soon enough to prevent injury; only soon enough to prevent immediate death.
Junko Furuta did not carry on any longer and died a couple of hours later the same day after suffering the unbearable agony for 41 days, which was further scaled up to the extreme in the final few hours of her life. Junko Furuta’s death was among the most painful individual deaths caused by human beings in the history of mankind.
On January 5, 1989, the boys filled a 55-gallon drum with concrete, dumped the dead girl’s body in the setting concrete. The drum was then cast away somewhere on the reclaimed land in Koto, Tokyo.
The boys were arrested, prosecuted and sentenced, but since they were juveniles at the time of committing the crime, the jail terms were lighter. They were sentenced to imprisonment ranging between four to seven years.
Problems with the story
Only such information has been included in this story that could be verified with more than three sources. However, there are quite a number of missing links in the story. For instance how Furuta’s body was found and how the investigation and the prosecution proceeded is not clear. The confession of the boys is also not available. Primarily because the boys were juveniles, their identities were protected and most of the records pertaining to them were not released to public.
The Internet is abuzz with the story and there are videos on You Tube enacting the story, but most of the content is user uploaded. After going through nearly all web pages on the story, the only authentic source that I came across was The Japan Times . From the mainstream media, it was only The Japan Times that had talked about the case in one of its news reports. So, I wrote to The Japan Times asking them to verify the truth of the story, and confirm or deny the facts. On December 5, 2011, The Japan Times was kind enough to respond to my mail through its Staff Editor, Setsuko Kamiya, who confirmed that such a case did occur some 20 years back and was indeed a “very high profile” at that time. He also confirmed that the facts of the case were as gruesome as reported. However, he added that despite having gone through the newspapers of those times, he could not “guarantee” that all facts reported online were accurate though he did suggest that they were, by and large, true.
All attempts to trace the defence attorneys in this case failed.
Originally written for and published in LAWYERS UPDATE as ‘Crime File’ in February 2012.