The case of

Junko Furuta

junko_furuta
Victim

Junko Furuta

Victim Race

Asian

Victim Date of Birth

1971-01-18

Victim Age

17

Date Reported

1988-11-25

Date of Death

1989-01-04

Case Status

Closed

Incident Location

Tokyo, Japan

Body Location

Koto, Tokyo

Date of Conviction

1990

Body Discovered Date

1989-03-30

Murderer

Hiroshi Miyano, Jo Ogura, Shinji Minato, and Yasushi Watanabe

Junko Furuta – 44 Days Of Living In Hell

Not many murder cases are as gruesome as Junko Furuta’s murder, and not many people had to suffer as much as she did in the last few weeks of her life.

Junko Furuta was a typical 17-year-old Japanese girl, going to school with her classmates, watching her favorite TV shows, and living with her parents. She studied at Saitama Yashio-Minami High School in Japan, and she worked part-time after school. She didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, and she was a good example for many of her classmates. However, her beauty and youthful innocence awoke some sinister thoughts in one of her classmates…

Junko Furuta – A Murder Story Like No Other

Junko Furuta was born on 18 January 1971 in Misato, Saitama Prefecture. She lived with her parents and two brothers. Junko went to Yashio-Minami High School and worked part-time at a plastic molding factory, in order to save money for the upcoming graduation trip. She had good grades, a pretty face, and a dream of becoming an idol singer. Her classmates liked her and she was quite popular.

One of her classmates, Hiroshi Miyano, liked her a little bit more. He wanted to date her, but she wasn’t interested, as Hiroshi was already involved in violent crimes because of his apparent connections to Yakuza. This problematic boy couldn’t take a “No” for an answer, and soon he found a way to make Junko Furuta suffer…

The Kidnapping of Junko Furuta

It’s November 25, 1988. Junko Furuta is going home from her part-time job on a bike. She is eager to get home and watch the final episode of the TV show, Tonbo. Suddenly, some random boy knocked her off the bike and ran away. She fell to the ground. Hiroshi Miyano unexpectedly approaches Junko, offers to help her and walk her home safely, and she accepts, suspecting nothing.

Soon, she realizes that it was all a trap. Instead of walking her home, he leads her to a warehouse nearby, where he rapes her. Then, he takes her to a hotel, where he rapes her again. He keeps threatening her and boasting about his connections to Yakuza. From the hotel room, Miyano calls his friends, Jo Ogura, Yasushi Watanabe, and Shinji Minato. He brags about raping Junko Furuta. Then, Ogura suggests that he keeps her as a captive so that more people can sexually assault her.

This wasn’t the first time that Miyano and his friends were involved in such crimes. Recently, they kidnapped and gang-raped another girl, whom they released afterward. Junko was their next victim. Miyano took her to a nearby park where they were joined by his three friends. They found her home address in a notebook in her backpack and used that information to make her more compliant. Junko was told that her parents and brothers will be killed if she even thought of escaping.

So, Junko Furuta obliged her captors in order to protect her family, hoping to be released soon. Little did she know, her suffering so far was only a beginning… Junko was taken to a house in the Ayase district of Adachi. There, she was gang-raped by Miyano and his friends. This house was owned by Minato’s parents, and it soon became the gang’s favorite place to hang out and torture Junko.

44 Days In a House of Horror

On November 27, worried about her disappearance, Junko’s parents called the police. The kidnappers forced Junko to call her mother 3 times and tell her that she willingly ran away and that she was safe. Since Minato’s parents lived in the house, Junko had to pretend she was his girlfriend. Soon, when the gang realized that Minato’s parents were suspecting their story but were too scared to call the police, they stopped pretending.

In the course of the next few weeks, Junko Furuta was not only raped by the four boys but also by other men and teenage boys that were invited to the house specifically in order to rape Junko. It is estimated that 100 different men and boys raped Junko more than 500 times. Reportedly, once she was raped by 12 different men in one day. Often, the rapists would urinate on her.

Shockingly, much worse things than rape were done to Junko. She was beaten on a daily basis. Her captors forced her to sleep on the balcony without clothes. Oftentimes, she was forced to drink urine and eat cockroaches. Various parts of her body were burned with cigarette lighters: arms, legs, eyelids, clitoris. As if the rape wasn’t enough, Junko’s captors used various objects to insert into her genitals and anus. Hot lightbulbs, lit matches, metal rods, scissors, fireworks, and bottles. Her pubic hair was burned. Her breasts were cut numerous times, with her left nipple being torn off with pliers. Multiple times, Junko begged her captors to kill her and end her suffering, but they enjoyed torturing her too much.

The injuries soon affected Junko’s internal organs and health overall. Her gastrointestinal system started to give up first. Her stomach could no longer hold food, so she started vomiting. Her genitals and urinary tract were so badly damaged that she could no longer use a toilet properly. Her vagina and anus were awfully injured so much, that they became one orifice. After numerous beatings and being set on fire with the lighter fuel several times, her legs gave up too. Junko could no more walk, only crawl.

Brutal torture caused Junko’s body to give off a rotting smell. Her face was so swollen that she was unrecognizable. That’s when the rapes eventually stopped. The beatings and other acts of violence still continued. Junko was used as a boxing bag. She was hanged on the ceiling and beaten with an iron bar, golf club, bamboo stick, and any other object her captors could find. Her face was bashed against the cement floor.

On January 4, 1989, one mahjong game proved to be fatal for Junko, or quite the opposite –  it finally set her free.

Reportedly, Miyano became enraged when he was beaten in a game of mahjong. He decided to take his anger out on Junko. He poured lighter fluid all over her body and set her on fire. She tried to put out the fire but soon became unresponsive. The four boys continued to punch her, they poured hot wax over her face and forced her to drink urine.

They kicked her and she fell onto a stereo unit. Then, she started convulsing and bleeding profusely. Her wounds and infected burns were full of pus. Her tormentors wrapped their hands in plastic bags and continued to beat her for the next 2 hours. They even dropped an iron barbell onto her stomach several times. Junko was dead. Junko was free.

To get rid of the evidence, the gang wrapped her body in blankets and placed it into a travel bag. Then, they took that travel bag and shoved it into a 55-gallon drum, and filled it with concrete. They disposed of the drum in a cement truck in Koto, Tokyo. A perfect crime, or so they thought.

Hiroshi Miyano and Friends- Young Boys With Hearts of Monsters

Little is known about the early life of Hiroshi Miyano, except that he was problematic since his early childhood. In elementary school, he was a school bully caught shoplifting and damaging school property. In 1986, he enrolled in a private school in Tokyo but dropped out the next year.

His criminal behavior escalated over time, and soon, he became involved in sex crimes and other acts of violence. He surrounded himself with friends that were as violent as him. Their names were Jo Ogura, Shinji Minato, and Yasushi Watanabe. The gang of four terrorized people in their surroundings. Their favorite activity was preying on helpless women, then kidnapping and gang-raping them.

Miyano knew Junko Furuta from school. and he became interested in her. Her rejection didn’t sit well with him, so he decided to get revenge. What followed was probably one of the most horrid crimes against another human being.

Investigation Details

When Junko Furuta disappeared, her parents knew something was wrong. It wasn’t like her, to simply go away from home. Even after Junko called her mother to say that she ran away willingly, the whole story seemed suspicious. The police labeled Junko’s odd disappearance as another case of teenage rebellion.

Soon after she was kidnapped, Junko had a chance of escaping her hell. Among many people that were invited to rape Junko, one young boy was disturbed by what he saw. He confided in his brother, who then repeated what he heard to their parents. The parents called the police. The police went to the house where Junko Furuta was being held captive, but there they were told that Junko wasn’t there, and they didn’t bother to check. If they did, Junko could’ve been saved.

On another occasion in December 1988, Junko Furuta used the opportunity when her captors were taking a nap to call the police. However, before she could even say anything, the phone call was disconnected by the gang, and she was put on fire and severely beaten as a punishment. Later, the police department called the house to check the reason behind the call, but they were told that it was dialed by mistake. Again, no one bothered to further check.

What happened to Junko Furuta was only discovered weeks after her death. On January 23, Miyano and Ogura were arrested for gang-raping a 19-year-old girl back in December 1988. On March 29, they were interrogated because woman’s underwear was found at their homes. Miyano thought they were being interrogated about Junko’s death. Scared that Oguro already confessed everything, he revealed the location where they hid her body.

The police were confused because they weren’t even investigating Junko’s death. However, they finally decided to follow the lead, and they found her body. At first, they didn’t even know whose body was there, they only knew it was extremely mutilated. Using the fingerprints, it was revealed that the body belonged to Junko Furuta. The autopsy found so much disturbing evidence of abuse. It was revealed that Junko Furuta was pregnant at the time of her death. Her brain shrank due to the dire circumstances of Junko’s final days.

DNA found on and inside Junko’s body and the confessions led the police to Minato, Minato’s brother, Watanabe, and several other accomplices, including Tetsuo Nakamura and Koichi Ihara.

Trial

The identities of the four main perpetrators of this horrendous crime were hidden from the public since they were still minors. However, the journalists from Shukan Bunshun magazine discovered their identities and decided to reveal them, due to the severity of their crimes.

All four boys pleaded guilty to “committing bodily injury that resulted in death,” avoiding admitting they were guilty of murder. They were convicted of being guilty, but the lengths of their sentences enraged the public.

Verdict

In July 1990, as an alleged leader of the crime group, Hiroshi Miyano was sentenced to 17 years in prison. He appealed his sentence, but Tokyo High Court judge Ryuji Yanase increased his sentence by 3 years, making it 20 years in total. That’s the second-longest prison sentence, with life imprisonment being the longest. His parole appeal was declined in 2004, and he was released from prison in 2009.

Shinji Minato was originally sentenced to 4-6 years, but after appealing his sentence, judge Yanase sentenced him to a 5-9 years sentence. Junko’s parents won a civil case against Minato’s parents, in whose home the crimes against Junko were committed.

Yasushi Watanabe was originally sentenced to 3-4 years in prison, but his sentence was upgraded to 5-7 years.

Jo Ogura served 8 years before he was released from the juvenile prison.

Frequently asked questions

What happened to Junko Furuta?

Junko Furuta was kidnapped, raped, tortured, and killed by a gang of four teenage boys.

Who is responsible for the kidnapping of Junko Furuta?

On November 25, 1988, she was kidnapped by 4 teenage boys – one of them being Hiroshi Miyano. Other accomplices were Shinji Minato, Yasushi Watanabe, and Jo Ogura. After kidnapping her, this gang invited approximately 100 other men and teenage boys to rape and torture Junko.

Where are Junko’s Killers Today?

Hiroshi Miyano was released from prison in 2009, then arrested again in 2013 because of fraud. Reportedly, he tries to hide his connection to Junko’s murder and disappears when someone discovers his true identity.

Jo Ogura shows no remorse about what he did to Junko Furuta and he even often brags about it. He was released from prison in 1999. In 2004, Ogura was arrested for assaulting Takatoshi Isono. It was reported that Ogura’s mother vandalized Junko’s grave because she blamed her for ruining her son’s life.

Yasushi Watanabe chose a life of a recluse after being released from prison. Little is known about his life since then, but it is speculated that he showed remorse for what he did to Junko Furuta.

Shinji Minato (previously known as Nobuharu Minato) lived with his mother after his release from prison. He complained about the cruel conditions in prison and how the system didn’t try to rehabilitate him. In 2018, he was arrested for attempted murder after beating a 32-year-old man with an iron rod and slashing his throat with a knife.

 

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