On June 22, the day the verdict was handed down, there was a line in front of the Saitama District Court demanding a ticket to the hearing
Tadashi Asano, a former associate professor at Bunkyo University who stabbed his wife to death in front of the Saitama Prefectural Office at 18:02 on March 16, 2020, was sentenced to seven years in prison on June 22 after six deliberations. This was three days before the defendant’s 54th birthday.
Asano and his wife were classmates when they began working for the Ministry of Justice in 1995; they met during their second year of training, fell in love, and married in 1998. His wife, Hoyo, could never have imagined that 22 years later she would be murdered by her husband, who was two years younger than her.
The couple was blessed with three daughters, and the period of their harmonious life together passed. Asano began consulting a lawyer about divorce, rented an apartment in Noborito, Kawasaki City, where their second daughter could easily commute, and chose to live separately.
Soon his relationship with his second daughter deteriorated, and he said, “My wife and my second daughter are colluding to take away my property. They are trying to force me to commit suicide.” He felt that “a serious game of kill or be killed had begun,” and he decided to commit the crime.
At the time of the incident, Asano was in the hospital suffering from depression and had been suffering from delusional disorder. The prosecution stated , “Although he was mentally weak, he was not so urgent that he directly came to kill his wife and second daughter. He committed the crime in a selfish and self-centered manner,” and sought 10 years in prison.
On the other hand, Asano’s lawyer said, “There is no doubt that a delusion exists. It is precisely because the delusion developed mysteriously that it led to the incident. There is a large discrepancy between the defendant’s personality, who was regarded as a “perfect teacher” at Bunkyo University, and his actions. It was the delusion that led a mild-mannered man to murder his wife. If he had been able to control his behavior, he would not have bought a kitchen knife (as a murder weapon) or made a note. Mr. Asano needs to be treated under medical observation. He needs treatment, not punishment,” he said, pleading not guilty.
Saitama District Court Judge Kenji Koike emphasized the findings of Dr. Nei Nishikawa, who appeared before the court for the fifth time. Dr. Nishikawa’s findings were : “Due to the effects of delusional disorder, Asano’s vision became narrowed and he committed the crime, but he hesitated to kill his second daughter once and was able to make a logical judgment. He had a certain amount of thought left in his head. We do not find that he was under the overwhelming influence of delusions,” he said.
After reading the main text, Judge Koike turned to the defendant and asked, “Mr. Asano, do you understand the verdict?” When Tadashi Asano responded, “Yes,” the judge said.
“The court’s judgment is that you were capable of making normal judgments. I believe that you will receive medical treatment in the future. When you are able to think about the act of murdering someone you once felt affection for, I am sure you will suffer, but I hope you will reconsider what you have caused by serving the sentence. As for your future, please consult with your lawyer very carefully.”
Tadashi Asano always wore the same clothes, both during the six rounds of deliberations and on the day he was sentenced. He wore a white mask that covered more than half of his face and a head of gray hair that looked like it had grown out of a sports crop. He wore a light brown jacket with prominent wrinkles, a black and white checked shirt, and brown slacks. The jacket, black and white checked shirt, and brown slacks were out of place in the early summer, let alone in March, the month of his wife’s murder.
I attended the entire trial on the case, and Asano’s eyes were vacant and vacant throughout, indicating that his illness was serious. On the other hand, during the fourth questioning of the accused during the deliberations on May 24, he spoke with surprising clarity, explaining his history and the circumstances of the murder. In particular, he responded in a bouncy voice when he talked about his time studying at Southern Illinois University while working for the Ministry of Justice.