Four girls and a captor

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In the news is the story of four 11 and 12 year old girls who were held captive in Akasaka from Sunday to Thursday last week.

I'm not sure whether the true substance of the story is about poor parenting, bad police work, the naivete of little girls, or whether it's just about a social deviant.

Kotaro Yoshisato, a 29 year old man from from Saitama just west of Tokyo, lured the girls to his condo in the city on the pretense of discussing part-time jobs at his fictitious shop, Petit Angel. In reality, he was looking for girls for his prostitution business. For the past few years, he's paid high school girls as talent scouts to find new, youthful recruits.

He'd met one of the four 6th graders previously and persuaded her to do "part time work" for him and offered her a bonus if she would bring her friends, too. When they all met him again last Sunday, he handcuffed the four to heavy objects, blindfolded them, then bound them hand and feet. On Wednesday night, he committed suicide by poisoning himself with carbon monoxide from a charcoal stove.

One of the girls escaped from her handcuffs on Thursday and went for help. The four sets of parents, all from a Tokyo suburb called Inagi, were very relieved to have their daughters home unscathed but you have to wonder why they let their the girls go into Shibuya unaccompanied.

On Friday, 3500 police officers and social welfare workers spent the day in the area around Shibuya station, reminding young people of the dangers of talking to strangers. According to Kyodo News, they talked to about 1500 kids--2/3 of them boys.

To add to the drama, Kotaro Yoshisato was investigated a few years ago on suspicion of selling illegal pornographic tapes featuring young women. But despite the evidence of sales flyers, a client list and 1000 video tapes, the investigation was dropped.

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