Where are the killers of Junko Furuta now? | “The concrete-encased high school girl murder case”

What happened to Junko Furuta? 

Junko Furuta was a Japanese high school student who was abducted, raped, tortured and murdered by a gang of 4 teenagers. Her case was dubbed the “concrete-encased high school girl murder case” since her body was discovered in a concrete drum. The abuse and subsequent murder were carried out by 4 male teenagers: Hiroshi Miyano, Jō Ogura, Shinji Minato and Yasushi Watanabe, over a period of 40 days, from 25 November 1988 to 4 January 1989.

On 25 November 1988, Miyano and Minato were looking for someone to rob and rape. They spotted Furuta riding her bike home after she had finished work. Under Miyano’s orders, Minato kicked Furuta off her bike and left the scene. Miyano, under the guise of witnessing the attack, approached Furuta and offered to walk her home safely.

He gained her trust and then proceeded to rape her in a warehouse, and again in a nearby hotel. Miyano called Minato and his other friends, Jō Ogura and Yasushi Watanabe, and boasted about the rape. Ogura asked Miyano to keep her in captivity so they could sexually assault her too. Miyano took Furuta to a nearby park, where Minato, Ogura, and Watanabe were waiting. The 4 boys took her to a house and gang-raped her. The group held Furuta captive for 40 days, where they repeatedly beat, raped, and tortured her before she eventually died. 

What happened during the trial? 

The identities of the 4 teenagers were not released by the court as they were juveniles at the time of the crime. All 4 defendants pleaded guilty to “committing bodily injury that resulted in death,” rather than murder. In July 1990, a court sentenced Hiroshi Miyano to 17 years in prison. He appealed his sentence but ended up with 3 more years in prison. Yasushi Watanabe, who was originally sentenced to 3 to 4 years in prison, received an upgraded sentence of 5 to 7 years. Jō Ogura served 8 years in a juvenile prison before he was released in August 1999. All 4 murderers received extremely light sentences despite the horrific crime they committed. 

In July 2004, Ogura was arrested for assaulting Takatoshi Isono, He was sentenced to 7 years in prison for assaulting Isono and has since been released. Shinji Minato received a 4 to 6 year sentence, but was re-sentenced to 5 to 9 years upon an appeal. In 2018, Minato was arrested again for attempted murder after beating a man with a metal rod and slashing his throat with a knife. Furuta’s parents won a civil suit against the parents of Minato, whose home the teenagers used to commit the crimes.

Where are the killers of Junko Furuta now?

All 4 of Furuta’s killers were eventually released from prison. Watanabe is the only one who has not reoffended since he got out of prison. It is unknown where the killers of Junko Furuta are now. 

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