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Letters from Tokyo
Lindsay Ann Hawker: Verdict Is Life in Prison But Eligible for Parole after 10 Years
By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent
Lindsay Ann Hawker

The verdict in the Lindsay Ann Hawker case was announced today (July, 21) and the judgment was life imprisonment for Tatsuya Ichihashi but in Japan this means that he may be able to get parole after 10 years depending on various factors. It had been stated that the father of Lindsay Ann Hawker had wanted the death penalty but this was never likely to happen. Therefore, the judgment of life imprisonment was always the most likely outcome and when the sentence was announced Tatsuya Ichihashi remained unattached and showed no emotion.

Currently it remains unclear if the Hawker family understands the reality of a life sentence in Japan because it is possible that Tatsuya Ichihashi may be released after ten years because he would be entitled for parole providing he met certain conditions. However, it is likely that he will serve at least twenty years.

Irrespective if the verdict meets the wishes of the Hawker family they simply have to draw a line under the legal issue and continue to re-build. Obviously, Lindsay Ann Hawker will always be in their hearts until the day they die and the pain and suffering must be unbearable.

Sadly, evil things like this happen to unfortunate families all over the world and questions of “why” or “if only” can never change anything. The radiant love of Lindsay Ann Hawker “stays within the heart” and clearly she would not want her family to suffer more pain, depression, anguish, and heartbreak.

The feelings of the Hawker family can only be understood by other families who have suffered at the hands of an individual who not only took away “a precious life” but did so in such a brutal way.

Lindsay Ann Hawker came to Japan with good intentions and Tatsuya Ichihashi abused both her naivety and innocence. Little did she know that Tatsuya Ichihashi had such brutality within his heart and mind therefore her final hours on this earth were pure hell.

The Hawker family will leave Japan and see little of the real beauty of this nation and the gentle nature of the overwhelming majority of individuals in this country.

In truth, the murder is not about ethnicity, nation, legal system and other factors; it is about the sad reality that people are killed all over the world by evil individuals who care little about the life of others. These individuals often fear the death penalty or being locked away but they don’t mind destroying entire families and killing in such a brutal way.

Obviously the Hawker family has suffered greatly and part of them will be “ghosts of their former selves.” They will continue to suffer but the only hope is that in time all mention of the name Tatsuya Ichihashi will be forgotten and instead only “the smiling loving Lindsay Ann Hawker will remain.”

The Joji Obara (Kim Sung Jong) case did not bring justice to the family of Lucie Blackman. On the contrary, it rubbed the most painful salt into the wound.

In my article called Lindsay Ann Hawker: does the Joji Obara/ Kim Sung Jong case provide pointers? I state the following:

“It must be stated that all nations have cases of miscarriages of justice and no legal system is perfect. However, the Joji Obara case does worry many individuals because how did this individual escape the countless number of rapes that he did and the killing of Carita Ridgway in 1992?”

“Joji Obara (Kim Sung Jong) had been raping women for over a decade and he had hundreds of personal videos of raping women. Indeed, the police stated that he may have raped up to 400 women but the figure could even be higher. “

“However, are we to believe that every female who was raped by Joji Obara did not seek justice for what this serial rapist did? Not only this, the death of Carita Ridgway took place in 1992.”

“Yet, despite everything Joji Obara was acquitted of the crime of Lucie Blackman’s rape and death. Judge Tsutomu Tochigi commented that “There is nothing to prove that [Obara] was involved in the rape and her death. The court cannot prove he was single-handedly involved in her death.“

“Indeed, the fact that this brutal serial rapist had video tapes to confirm the twisted nature of Joji Obara; and the fact the body of Lucie Blackman was so close to the home of Joji Obara; all this counted for nothing.”

“Therefore, for many people it appears that a huge miscarriage of justice took place in the Lucie Blackman and Carita Ridgway case (not forgetting all the women who were raped).”

The verdict today in the Lindsay Ann Hawker case may or may not have been what the Hawker family had expected. However, I hope that this is the final chapter in the court case because if it isn’t then the pain and suffering will continue to hurt even more because of no solace and escape.

Lindsay Ann Hawker was taken from this world in such a violent manor and no words can express the sympathies of so many people.

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/07/14/lindsay-ann-hawker-does-the-joji-obara-case-provide-pointers/ (Written shortly before the final verdict – July 14)

http://www.lindsayannhawker.com/
http://moderntokyotimes.com

The above article is from the Modern Tokyo Times.



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Lee Jay Walker serves as Tokyo Correspondent of The Seoul Times. He specializes in int'l relations and geopolitics. He is also involved in analyst work and research on business. After finishing BA degree in East European Studies at the University of London, he earned MA degree in Asia Pacific Studies at Nottingham Trent University. Website at http://www.leejaywalker.wordpress.com where work is published.

 

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