Junko Furuta Murder: Junko Furuta was abducted and subjected to sexual assault, torture, and murder by four male teenagers who then sealed her body in concrete in a drum; her case has become known as the “concrete-encased high school girl murder case.” Over 40 days of abuse occurred over this period, and is considered one of the most severe instances of adolescent misconduct following World War II in Japan. Hiroshi Miyano, Jo Ogura, Shinji Minato, and Yasushi Watanabe were responsible; their sentences ranged from confinement in juvenile detention centers up to lengthy prison sentences totaling two decades for each perpetrator sentenced for their roles in this tragedy.
The movie ‘Concrete-Encased High School Girl Murder Case: Broken Seventeen-Year-Olds vividly recounts the tragic events surrounding Junko’s murder by her perpetrators, who subjected her to prolonged torture and sexual exploitation before taking her life. Junko’s story is a powerful reminder of how extreme violence and abuse affect individuals and communities, emphasizing the necessity of safeguarding vulnerable individuals while providing justice in extreme violence and abuse cases. Mechanisms must be in place to monitor and prevent such individuals from engaging in criminal activities again. This case serves as a reminder that creating an efficient justice system is critical to ensure these perpetrators face prosecution and punishment for their crimes.
Who was Junko Furuta?
She was born and lived with her parents and two siblings in Misato, Saitama Prefecture. She later attended Yashio-Minami High School, where she became well-known among her peers due to her strong academic performance and physical attractiveness. Additionally, she worked part-time at a plastic molding factory after school hours to accumulate funds for an upcoming graduation excursion; furthermore, she secured a position at an electronics retailer, which she planned to take up once her studies were complete.
On the night of her abduction, Furuta intended to return home and watch the final episode of Tonbo when she was taken from her plan by four teenage boys identified as Hiroshi Miyano (18), Jo Ogura (17), Shinji Minato (16), and Yasushi Watanabe (17), all who had histories of criminal activity including theft, blackmail, and sexual assault; using Shinji Minato’s residence as their meeting spot at that time.
Miyano believed to be the ringleader, displayed delinquent behavior as early as elementary school years. After dropping out of high school in 1987 and initiating numerous unlawful acts that gradually intensified. At the time of this crime, they had been cohabitating with Boy D’s sister Yasushi Watanabe’s elder sister; however, due to Miyano’s conduct, however, she lost interest and eventually ended their relationship.
What Happened to Junko Furuta?
On November 25, 1988, Miyano and Minato were observed roaming Misato with the apparent intent to commit robbery and sexual assault against local women. Furuta was riding her bicycle home after finishing her work shift, and Minato followed Miyano’s instructions by forcibly taking Furuta off her motorcycle before quickly fleeing from the location. Miyano claimed she witnessed this attack by chance but offered Furuta an escorted journey home instead of abandoning her alone at that location.
Miyano gained her trust before sexually assaulting her at both a warehouse and a nearby hotel, with threats made of imminent harm being caused against her by Miyano. Once at the hotel, he called Minato, Jo Ogura, and Yasushi Watanabe to boast about it; according to reports, Ogura requested Miyano confine her so multiple individuals could assault her numerous times. According to reports, this group has an established record of kidnapping and rape crimes, with another female victim eventually released.
At approximately 3:00 a.m., Miyano transported Furuta to a park where Minato, Ogura, and Watanabe were present and waiting. He obtained her address by searching a notebook in her backpack before threatening her by claiming knowledge of her whereabouts and warning of potential harm to her family by Yakuza members if she attempted to flee. Four boys then overpowered and brought her back to an address located in Adachi’s Ayase district before she reported being subjected to gang rape; Minato’s parents used as frequent gathering spots by Minato’s gang during this encounter.
On November 27th, Furuta’s parents informed police about her disappearance, only for kidnappers to force her to call home three times and stop any further investigations into her case. Furuta was instructed during these calls to say she had left home voluntarily and resided with various acquaintances; her attackers then pressured her into ending any police inquiry regarding this case. Furuta assumed the role of Minato’s girlfriend while his parents were present; upon realizing they wouldn’t involve law enforcement, they decided not to maintain it, and they abandoned their illusions as soon as it became evident that Minato’s guardians wouldn’t get involved; according to his parents, they refrained from intervening due to fear.
On November 28th, Miyano invited two male individuals identified as Tetsuo Nakumara and Koichi Ihara – E and F, respectively – to come with him to Minato’s residence. On arrival, he proceeded directly to the upper level where Junko sat. Junko was wearing an apparel item stolen by Miyano from a retail establishment just before her arrest, including an L-sleeved T-shirt and skirt that appeared to have been concealed under a layer of fabric. Both suspects consumed cough medicine while acting under the influence – with Junko showing signs of being under its effects.
Furuta attempted to leave the scene while emitting terrorizing vocalizations. Miyano allegedly grabbed her legs while Ihara placed a pillow over Miyano’s face. Hearing a scream, the parents were disturbed enough to awaken from their sleep and investigate its source. Minato informed them there was nothing cause for alarm as Furuta had been subjected to gang-rape by members of her group – at which point, Furuta lay unconscious with eyes gazing upon the ceiling with no signs of blinking.
Furuta was held captive for 40 days at the Minato residence and subjected to beatings, rapes, and torture from members of a group known as Minato’s Group. Multiple males, including teenagers, were invited into their residences to coerce them into sexually assaulting the victim.
Based on testimony provided by the group, it appears that the victim was subjected to numerous acts that degraded her dignity. According to their account, the perpetrators shaved her pubic hair, coerced her into dancing in nudity in front of them, and forced her to masturbate in front of them. At nighttime hours, they left her on a balcony without clothing; various objects, including lit matches, metal rods, and bottles, were used to violate her orifices. She was also forced to consume large amounts of alcohol, milk, and water; additionally, she was coerced into smoking multiple cigarettes simultaneously and inhaling paint thinner.
Miyano used lighter fluid to cause multiple burns on Furuta’s arms and legs during this incident, and by December, she had experienced severe malnourishment due to these injuries. Due to her limited food supplies and eventual diet being restricted solely to milk, the victim experienced severe injuries and burns that became infected, leaving her unable to access the downstairs toilet, and confining her to Minato’s room floor with severe weakness and injuries.
Furuta experienced severe physical changes as a result of her violent assaults. Facial features were obscured due to severe swelling; her body showed evidence of significant physical damage; and it emitted a foul odor resulting in loss of sexual attraction among four male individuals involved in this incident. Another victim, 19 years old and on her way home from work, was kidnapped and gang-raped by two boys involved – similar events can be found elsewhere – similar to Furuta’s case.
Murder and Investigation in Junko Furuta Case
On January 4th, 1989, Miyano engaged in a mahjong game against another individual. Upon experiencing defeat, his emotions flared violently – channeling it all toward Furuta, he poured lighter fluid over her body set it ablaze. Reports claim Furuta attempted to put out the flames but eventually became nonresponsive; she was then subjected to physical assault and used a lit candle to cause burns on her face. The perpetrators placed candles on her eyelids and forced her to consume her own urine; after being kicked, she fell onto a stereo unit, where she experienced convulsions before being found with serious injuries, including profuse bleeding and pus oozing from infected burns that required medical care.
Suspects were observed covering their hands with plastic bags. A victim, Furuta, was subjected to repeated physical assault, including being struck repeatedly and having a heavy iron exercise ball dropped onto her abdomen multiple times – according to reports, the attack lasted two hours; unfortunately, Furuta later succumbed to her injuries, and passed away as a result of them.
Minato received a phone call from his brother telling him of Furuta’s death just one day later and that her suspected assailants attempted to conceal it by covering it in blankets and placing it within the luggage. At approximately 8 pm, individuals involved with this crime packed the victim’s remains into a 55-US gallon (210-liter) drum and filled it with wet concrete before later loading the object onto a cement truck for disposal in Koto, Tokyo.
Furuta had frequently expressed her regret to her captors about not being allowed to see the final episode of Tonbo (Dragonfly) before she was detained. Miyano found and collected a videotape of Furuta’s incident and placed it within his travel bag, apparently out of fear that she might return as a ghost haunting the area. According to his statement, this action wasn’t motivated by compassion but by fear for Furuta’s potential haunting as an apparition.
On January 23, 1989, Miyano and Ogura were taken into custody on charges of the alleged gang-rape of a 19-year-old female victim who had reportedly been taken captive sometime between December and January. On March 29th, two police officers were interviewed about discovering women’s undergarments at various addresses belonging to individuals under investigation.
Miyano indicated during his interrogation that one or more officers might know about his involvement in Furuta’s murder; Miyano speculated that Jo Ogura may have confessed to having perpetrated these crimes against Furuta. Miyano then proceeded to inform authorities of Furuta’s body’s location. When presented with this news, police were initially taken aback since they were investigating another murder nine days prior; yet this one remains open today.
On March 31st 1989, law enforcement discovered a drum containing Furuta’s body in which her identity could be verified through fingerprint analysis. On April 1st 1989, Ogura was taken into custody for unrelated sexual assault before later being charged with Furuta’s murder. Following this event, Watanabe, Minato, and Minato’s brother were apprehended as were Watanabe Minato and his brother from Watanabe’s group, as were Watanabe, Minato, and Minato’s brother all four individuals involved with her abuse/rape, including two individuals, Tetsuo Nakamura and Koichi Ihara who were charged after DNA evidence found on Furuta’s body revealed them as culprits rapers.
Arrest and Prosecution in Junko Furuta Case
Due to being minors when the crime was committed, court officials sealed off the identities of defendants; however, journalists from Shukan Bunshun magazine managed to unearth and publish these individuals. Due to the serious nature of the crime committed, their right to anonymity should not be protected. All four defendants admitted to causing bodily harm that led to the victim’s death instead of facing murder charges and being sentenced by a lower court to 17 years of incarceration in July 1990. Hiroshi Miyano was named the leader of this crime and received 17 years for his part.
The suspect filed an appeal, yet Judge Ryuji Yanase of the Tokyo High Court issued an additional three-year prison term – making this 20-year sentence second only to life imprisonment as far as Japanese legal history goes. Minato was 18 at the time of Furuta’s murder and relocated to his mother’s residence after his release. In 2018, Minato was again apprehended for attempted murder after assaulting a 32-year-old male with a metal rod and cutting his throat with a knife.
Yasushi Watanabe initially received a prison sentence of three to four years; this was later increased to five to seven years due to his involvement in the murder. At 17, Jo Ogura was taken into juvenile detention for eight years for his involvement, later released in August 1999 with assistance provided by another individual and given the surname Kamisaku upon being taken in by someone. According to reports, Kamisaku made statements concerning his role in Furuta’s abduction, sexual assault, and physical abuse.
Ogura was arrested for committing physical violence against Takatoshi Isono. Ogura’s girlfriend may have had some relationship with the victim; therefore, it may have motivated Ogura’s assault on Isono. Ogura found Isono and physically attacked him before forcibly placing him inside his vehicle for transportation from Adachi to Misato and onto Misato Bar, where his mother runs her business. According to available information, Ogura transported Isono from Adachi.
Ogura reportedly subjected Isono to a violent assault lasting about four hours at this location and repeatedly threatened that his life would end unless his way were followed. He boasted of prior experience taking lives and his ability to avoid justice. After being charged with assaulting Isono and found guilty, the suspect was sentenced to seven years of incarceration before eventually being released back into society. Reports indicate an act of vandalism on Furuta’s grave that appears to have been perpetrated by Ogura’s mother. Her statements imply the deceased girl had caused irreparable damage to Ogura’s life. The suspect reportedly stated they made this claim for reasons related to revenge against Furuta for leaving Ogura vulnerable.
Miyano was denied parole in 2004, releasing him from prison in 2009. On January 13th 2013, he was taken back into custody, this time for fraud charges, but later that month was released due to insufficient evidence against him. After an appeal hearing, judge Ryuji Yanase issued a revised five to nine-year sentence against Nobuharu Minato (now Shinji Minato). At the time of the murder, he was 16, and both his parents and brother had no charges brought against them for his involvement.
Furuta’s parents were dissatisfied with the verdict for Junko Furuta’s murder, so they pursued legal action against Minato’s parents – where it occurred – and won a civil lawsuit. According to reports, Miyano’s mother is said to have paid Junko Furuta’s parents compensation of ¥50 million (US$425,000). According to reports, this payment came about via selling their family home.
Must Read: Where are the Killers of Junko Furuta Now?