Japan’s Twitter Killer Sentenced to Death

A TOKYO court has given the death penalty to a 27-year old man who killed nine people he lured using Twitter in a case that shocked Japan.

Takahiro Shiraishi was arrested in November 2017 when police discovered the remains of several victims in his suburban Tokyo apartment. They had been initially investigating the disappearance of a 23-year old woman who had shared suicidal thoughts on Twitter but found evidence of eight more victims.

The killer used Twitter to find vulnerable people who had expressed suicidal feelings, who he would offer to assist in dying. He would then meet his victims and kill them, before disposing of their bodies at his home. His oldest victim was 26, his youngest just 15. All were young women and girls, except one young man who had challenged the killer on the whereabouts of his missing girlfriend.

A Tokyo court official told AFP that “the death sentence was handed down” at the end of a high profile court trial, which in Japan is carried out through hanging inmates. The case provoked Japan to crack down on suicide content on social media, and Twitter has promised to offer more help to its most vulnerable users.

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Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...