Sasebo Slashing

On the fateful day of 11th may 2004, the sleepy town of Sasebo, which belonged to the Nagasaki prefecture in Japan, was rocked by the murder of an innocent 12 year old schoolgirl, Satomi Mitarai. The murder wasn’t any ordinary homicide of a child. It was a criminal act performed by none other than Satomi’s own 11 year old classmate. Her name is as yet, undisclosed and known in the media as ‘Girl A’.


During the recess, in an empty classroom, Satomi was murdered brutally. Her throat and hands were slit and the floor covered in blood. The killer had used a utility knife. Her classmate had left her body in the empty class and went into her own, her clothes smeared with Satomi’s blood. When her class teacher found Satomi’s disappearance and Girl A’s clothes covered in blood suspicious, she called the school authorities for help. After searching the classrooms, they found Satomi’s dead body. The police was called and her classmate was taken into custody.


Upon questioning, the girl showed signs of extreme remorse. She was reluctant to tell anything and kept pleading for forgiveness. The police records show the use of “I am sorry”, repeatedly in her statements. After intense questioning she finally revealed that the motive to kill Satomi was to get even at her. The previous day, the girl claimed, Satomi had fought with her on the Internet. She has called her a ‘goody goody’ and attempted to slander and tarnish her image.


The murder sparked widespread media coverage and revealed the many insecurities of the public. The issue was taken up at the Diet. The parliamentarians argued for the age of criminal responsibility to be reduced from 16 years to 14 years in the wake of the Sasebo killing.