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Chiyo Aizawa
Born January 31, 1939(1939-01-31) (age 71)
Tochigi Prefecture, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Known for Murder of her father and incest victim
Spouse(s) None (her father was her common-law husband)
Children Three daughters (two other daughters died as infants)
Parents Takeo and Rika

Chiyo Aizawa (相沢 チヨ Aizawa Chiyo?) (born January 31, 1939) was a Japanese woman who murdered her father.[1][2] Her trial, known as "Aizawa v. Japan", is famous in Japan because it led to a change in Japanese criminal law.

Contents

Early life and murder

Born in Tochigi Prefecture, Aizawa was the first of six children. Her father was Takeo Aizawa (相沢 武雄 Aizawa Takeo?, May 3, 1915 - October 5, 1968) and her mother was Rika Aizawa (相沢 リカ Aizawa Rika?). Takeo Aizawa suffered from alcoholism and systematically raped his daughter from 1953 onwards. Rika Aizawa fled to Hokkaidō soon after, leaving Chiyo behind. She returned several years after, but by then Takeo had begun living with his daughter, treating her as if she were his wife. Chiyo Aizawa became pregnant eleven times and had five daughters by her father, but two of them died in infancy. In 1967, she underwent sterilization after her sixth induced abortion. In 1968, she fell in love with a man and her father became angry. He confined her and said that he would kill her three children.

On October 5, 1968, Aizawa murdered her father in Yaita, Tochigi Prefecture.[3] The Japanese police then determined that her three children were sired by her father.[2] Indeed, her neighbors had thought Chiyo was her father's wife until her arrest. Because Japanese law forbids endogamy and polygyny but doesn't forbid incest, a family register recorded Aizawa's children as her father's illegitimate children.

Aizawa v. Japan

The penalty for parricide was the death penalty or life imprisonment under article 200 of the penal code.[3] Justices typically accept mitigating circumstances in such incidents; Japanese laws at the time permitted two reductions in actual sentencing, each reduction half of the appropriate sentence, with life imprisonment reduced to a seven-year sentence when reduction is applicable. Still, the minimum sentence Aizawa would have received was three years and six months in prison, and the laws at the time did not allow suspended sentences for terms longer than three years. Her lawyer insisted that the murder was self-defense and that she had been insane due to sexual abuse. The district court in Utsunomiya considered article 200 unconstitutional (and acquitted Aizawa because the crime originated via self-defense). However, the high court in Tokyo did not concur (and indeed sentenced her for three years and six months). In a final appeal, the Japanese supreme court accepted the argument that imposing a harsh penalty on Aizawa would violate the principle of human equality found in the constitution. The court ruled the article unconstitutional on April 4, 1973. Aizawa was found guilty of regular homicide and received a sentence of two years and six months in prison, suspended for three years. If the court had not annulled precedents, she could not have received a suspended sentence. She was effectively acquitted, and she worked in Utsunomiya after her release.

Effect of her sentence

On April 19, 1973, the Japanese Ministry of Justice announced that Japanese murderers who had killed their parents due to extreme emotional circumstances would be granted amnesty. The article 200 of the penal code was abolished in 1995.[4]

See also

Further reading

  • Hideo Tanaka and Malcolm D.H. Smith, The Japanese legal system : introductory cases and materials, 1976, University of Tokyo Press, Tokyo ISBN 0860081613
  • Meryll Dean, Japanese Legal System, 2002, Cavendish Publishing, London ISBN 1843143224

References

External links








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