In a quiet celebration in an apartment in Imaike, kidnapper Kouji Hasegawa and his captive, Mariko Sato, marked the latter’s 42nd birthday – her 26th while in captivity. The festive mood was marred, however, by Hasegawa’s admission that he hadn’t really planned this far ahead when he kidnapped the teenage Sato in 1987.
“At the time I thought it was a perfect plan,” he confided. “I’d just kidnap a teenage girl and keep her locked in my apartment. But to be honest, since around her 30th birthday it just hasn’t been the same.”