Japan is a place that has seen many crimes in the past, including the ones committed by gangs and kids who have simply lost their ways. But never was there one that was brutal and involving many people with sheer casualness as that which saw the life of Junko Furuta snuffed out of her in the most ungodly and inhumane way possible.
She was an ideal high school student who had a future that was everything bright. She was beautiful, intelligent, and neither smoked nor drank. That was the life Junko led before her path crossed with Hiroshi Miyano who did not just become her undoing but also her bitter and tragic end.
Many years later, the story of Furuta still stirs anger and emotions, considering the light sentences that those involved in the case got.
Background and Meeting with Hiroshi Miyano
On January 18, 1971, in Misato, Saitama Prefecture, Japan, Junko was born as one of three children. She was brought up alongside two brothers, one older and a younger one.
She received a proper upbringing and unlike most of her other schoolmates at Yashio-Minami High School, she always kept to herself and out of trouble.
However, in 1988, trouble met her when her schoolmate, Hiroshi Miyano, 18, had a crush on her. He was the kind of person a girl like her would not want to be with; he was a bully and was always getting into one trouble or the other. He always bragged about his involvement with the dangerous and powerful Japanese crime syndicate known as Yakuza.
When Miyano asked Junko out, she naturally turned him down despite his connection to the gang everyone feared. He did not take this lightly because he felt no girl should dare to turn him down. The rejection immediately signed the 17-year-old girl into his bad books.
How She Was Abducted
As a member of a gang of rapists, Miyano was hanging around a park with his other gang members, including Shinji Minato, looking for women they could easily rob and rape. Later that evening, they noticed Furuta on her bicycle going home from a part-time job she had Following the orders of Miyano, Minato pushed the young girl off her bike and took off.
Hiroshi Miyano, acting as a bystander, helped her up and offered to escort her home. That became the last day of freedom for Junko Furuta as she was taken to a warehouse where she was raped by Miyano who reminded her of his Yakuza connections, threatening to kill her if she attracted any attention.
After he was done, he took her to a park where she was again raped by his friends; Minato, Ogura, and Watanabe. Next, the boys led her to Minato’s house where she was forced to pretend to be his girlfriend whenever his parents were around.
When her parents reported to the police that she was missing, the boys forced her to call home and claim she had eloped with a boy. This stopped the police from continuing with her search. Her fate was made worse when Hiroshi’s parents began suspecting something was amiss but they were threatened by their son into silence, using his same old connection with the dreaded Yakuza.
For the next 44 days, she would be raped, tortured, and starved, before meeting her death.
Her Final Days and the Authority’s Reaction
During the days leading to her death, Junko Furuta passed through hell. She was raped hundreds of times by the boys who went as far as inviting others to get involved in the atrocity. More than a hundred people, most of whom were young boys and members of the Yakuza, knew about her abduction or participated in the crime. At a point, the police were informed a couple of times but they failed to act.
They tortured the young girl by inserting various dangerous objects including iron bars, scissors, lightbulb, and even fireworks into her anus and vagina. By the time they were done, her internal anatomy was already destroyed, so much that she could no longer urinate or defecate properly.
She was forced into eating live cockroaches, burned, hung from the ceiling, among many other despicable things.
When the police were first notified, they showed up but did not search the house. The second time when Furuta made the call herself, they called back instead of coming by and it was Miyano who picked the call. He assured them it was only a mistake. For making a call to the police, her legs were set on fire.
On January 4, 1989, after Miyano lost a game of Mahjong, he decided to take out his frustrations on Furuta. His friends joined in beating and torturing her until she died. Scared, the boys, who were between the ages of 15 and 18, dumped her body in a gallon drum which they filled with concrete and then dropped it on a cement truck.
A couple of weeks later, the boys, Miyano and Ogura, ended up in a police cell because of gang rape case. When questioned on a case of murder, Miyano confessed his involvement in the killing of Furuta, believing he was being questioned about her murder and that the other kid must have confessed. As it turned out, it was something entirely different and Ogura had not spoken.
Despite the gravity of the crime, the boys were handed down a disgusting light sentence of between 5 to 20 years, with Miyano receiving the highest punishment.
Decades later, there are those who want the case to be retried as justice was not served. Even though it was claimed that their ages were the reason they got such sentences, the belief was that the fear of Yakuza influenced the judgment.