KAWASAKI - An 18-year-old boy arrested on suspicion of murdering a 13-year-old middle school student in Kawasaki has admitted to the killing, investigative sources said Monday.
The Kanagawa prefectural police are working to confirm the boy's statements, in an effort to uncover the entire picture of the murder case, by comparing it with statements made by two other boys.
Both 17, the two other boys were also arrested on suspicion of murdering Ryota Uemura, a first-year-student at a middle school in the city's Kawasaki Ward, near the banks of the Tamagawa river.
According to the investigative sources, the 18-year-old suspect said, "I did it," admitting to the killing of Uemura during police questioning. The boy said he was upset because Uemura had "snitched" to others about the violence he suffered at the 18-year-old's hands.
The 18-year-old had previously told police, "I don't want to say anything."
In mid-January, the 18-year-old severely beat Uemura in a parking lot in Yokohama, resulting in bruises around his eye as well as on his arm and leg.
Some of Uemura's friends heard about the beating and visited the 18-year-old boy's home in the ward on Feb. 12. They told his mother they wanted to speak with him because "one of our juniors was punched," but she said the 18-year-old was not home and told them to leave.
They continued arguing back and forth for about 30 minutes, and the mother eventually called a police car to the house.
During questioning by the Kanagawa prefectural police, the 18-year-old suspect said he, the two 17-year-old suspects and Uemura went to the Tamagawa riverside before dawn on Feb. 20. He also said he told one of the 17-year-old boys to go away and Uemura to swim in the river.
The 18-year-old was quoted by the police as saying that he cut Uemura with a box cutter that the other 17-year-old boy had.
The 17-year-old boy who had been ordered to go away told the police that he saw Uemura lying on the ground bleeding from the neck, and the 18-year-old boy standing nearby, when he returned from a convenience store. He said he ran up to the 18-year-old suspect and told him to stop, but that the 18-year-old boy straddled him and threatened at knifepoint to kill him.
An autopsy found that Uemura died due to hemorrhagic shock at about 2 a.m. on Feb. 20.
In late January, a different set of Uemura's friends demanded he apologise for his violence against Uemura. The 18-year-old boy apologised to Uemura in front of those middle school students, saying: "I won't do it again. I'm sorry."