I was quite nervous, to be honest. Nervous about the act of committing a murder.”
The defendant explained in court why he imitated “The Joker” in carrying out the murder.
In October 2009, Kyota Hattori, 26, was charged with attempted murder and arson of an inhabited building for stabbing a passenger with a knife on a Keio Line limited express train and setting the train on fire. On the 18th of this month, Hattori, with black hair and wearing a suit, took the stand at the Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court and told the story of how he committed the crime.
I thought it would be good to have a character that would serve as an image or a target in the midst of having to commit a murder. The Joker” seemed to take human life lightly and think nothing of hurting people. I thought I had to have that kind of feeling to be able to bring about the incident (killing someone and not being executed), so I decided to become that character.”
By pretending to be a certain character at the time of the incident, he dared to avert his eyes from his feelings for the victim and lost his hesitation to commit the crime. The prosecution, however, sought to determine the contents of Hattori’s diary, in which he is said to have written about his feelings of confidence on the day before the crime.
In the diary, Hattori wrote, “I am looking forward to the day of the crime,” and “I want to see the moment when a person dies. In court, Hattori told the court that he kept the diary for the purpose of self suggestion.
The defendant came to Tokyo from his hometown in Fukuoka to commit the crime. Local neighbors and classmates describe Hattori as a “quiet and reserved” young man. Hattori had broken off an engagement with his girlfriend of nine years prior to the crime, and he also revealed that he had attempted suicide in desperation due to problems at work.
He said, “I was thinking about the trouble at work and the breakup with my girlfriend, and I thought, ‘If I can’t kill myself, I’ll find another way,’ and I thought I had no choice but to ask someone to kill me. But I couldn’t ask someone to kill me. I was hesitant. I didn’t want to do it if I could, but I thought that the only way to get the death penalty was to make a case. I was conflicted.
At the time of his arrest, Hattori stated that he had stopped in Kobe, Osaka, and other places in search of a place to commit the crime. Finally, he drifted to Tokyo and hid out in a hotel near Keio-Hachioji Station, where he was preparing to commit the crime, suggesting that it was not an impulsive act. He was also conducting an experiment at the hotel where he was staying before the incident.
In the bathroom of the hotel where he was staying before the incident, he was experimenting with a 2-liter plastic bottle filled with water to see how he could make it spray vigorously. He also lit a very small amount of lighter oil on the hotel sink to see if it would burn, and on the day of the incident, he stabbed the suitcase with a knife to see if it would penetrate”.
On the day of the incident, he organized a survival knife, a plastic bottle containing lighter oil, insecticide spray, and a Zippo lighter, which he is believed to have used in the crime, in his own backpack for easy access. Although defendant Hattori stated at the beginning of the interview that he was nervous at the time of the crime, he remembered the incident vividly with an unusually calm mind.
He said, “The main thing was to burn people to death with oil. I thought that if I sprayed insecticide spray, passengers would run toward the first car. I thought I would stab people if they came toward me, so I held a knife in my right hand and the spray in my left. I sprayed at the face of the male victim, Mr. A, so that he would not interfere with the crime. Our hands collided, so I stabbed him with all my might.”
The defendant revealed the vivid situation at that time in an unaffected manner. The Joker’s disguise gave a glimpse of how meaningful it was to Hattori.
The other passengers were fleeing to the front (of the train), glancing in my direction. I thought they were frightened, so I figured it was all planned.”
The defendant then allegedly sprayed oil and threw a lighter into a passenger who was standing in the coupling of the cars and set him on fire, but the passenger did not catch on fire and the passenger was able to escape.
The prosecution claimed that the series of acts constituted attempted murder of the passenger, while the defense was in dispute, claiming that the defendant did not intend to kill the passenger.
On the other hand, the defense argued that the 12 passengers other than the man who was seriously injured “could not be said to have been in a place where there was a definite risk of death. The defense argued that the attempted murder of the 12 passengers was not a crime, and therefore, “12 years in prison is the appropriate sentence.
The victim, Mr. A’s attorney strongly argued against Hattori.
I will never change my mind that I cannot forgive him. I think it will be difficult for him to be rehabilitated, and there is no concrete plan for compensation for the damage. Life imprisonment is the appropriate sentence.
This was a random incident that targeted an unspecified number of people, and there was a possibility that many would be killed. The fact that the passengers were able to escape was merely a fortuitous circumstance. The verdict will be handed down on the 31st.