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Ex-vice minister, wife tell police about domestic violence from son in Tokyo murder case

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo

Hideaki Kumazawa in December 2001 when he was the vice minister of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry

The Yomiuri Shimbun Hideaki Kumazawa, 76, a former vice agriculture minister, and his wife have described to investigators the domestic violence they suffered at the hands of their unemployed son, 44, whom Kumazawa allegedly killed, according to investigative sources.

Kumazawa was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of his son on Saturday.

The younger Kumazawa began refusing to go to junior high school around his second year because of bullying, and subsequently started to become violent with family members, the sources said.

The couple apparently did not consult with an outside party about the issue.

Officers at Nerima Police Station of the Metropolitan Police Department are looking into the mental aspects of what drove Kumazawa to allegedly kill his son.

Kumazawa was quoted as telling police he thought that if things had continued on the same path, the couple would be killed, so he took action, describing his son’s episodes of domestic violence.

The abuse began about 30 years ago, the sources said. The couple’s son had taken junior high entrance examinations and was admitted to a prominent private Tokyo junior high school focusing on preparing students for higher education. However, around his second year at the institution, he began refusing to attend classes because of bullying.

He was initially only violent with his mother, but later he started kicking and punching his father as well. The violence continued until he graduated from high school. He even took a lighter and held the flame to his mother’s body, the sources said.

The younger Kumazawa left home to live on his own when he entered university. He lived alone in housing his mother set up and even held jobs, although never for long.

Kumazawa would sometimes visit his son’s home to clean it, the sources said. On May 25, a week before the incident, the son contacted Kumazawa and said that he was returning home, arriving that day.

The next day, the son screamed, “What does my life even mean?” and began to be violent with his father. Kumazawa and his wife tried to live as quietly as possible on the second floor of their home.

The son put down a futon in a Japanese-style room on the first floor and spent his days playing online video games. Whenever he saw one of his parents he would become violent, the sources said. Kumazawa was able to escape once, but returned out of concern for his wife.

Prior to the incident, Kumazawa told his wife, “The next time he gets violent, the only thing to do is kill him,” according to the sources.

On Saturday, the day of the incident, a sports festival was being held at an elementary school next door to the Kumazawa home. Without warning, the son screamed out, “This noise is too much. I’m going to kill them.”

The recent stabbing incident in Kawasaki that left 20 people killed or injured, including students at the private Caritas Elementary School, was in the back of his mind, and Kumazawa was quoted as telling police that he became terrified that his son would do harm to the children and others.

Kumazawa then allegedly took a knife from the kitchen and stabbed his son dozens of times in the neck, chest and elsewhere, then called police by himself.

When he was arrested, Kumazawa had multiple bruises apparently from his son’s violent outbursts, the sources said.

There are no records of Kumazawa or his wife consulting the police or other authorities about their son’s violence. Nerima Police Station believes the couple took on all the concern upon themselves, the sources said.

Kumazawa is a native of Gifu Prefecture. He entered the current Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry in 1967 after graduating from the University of Tokyo. He steadily moved up the ladder of promotion to the vice minister of the ministry, or the highest post as an administrative bureaucrat.

People who know the family said they were unaware of the son’s violent episodes, according to the sources.

“He never complained or expressed dissatisfaction with his job, and I never heard him mention domestic violence,” said a former colleague who entered the ministry at the same time.

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