Thursday , June 20 2024

Couple opens Vietnamese restaurant to commemorate daughter killed in Japan


Parents of a Vietnamese girl raped and murdered in Japan in 2017 have opened a restaurant to fulfill her wish of connecting the two countries.

On June 19, Le Thi Nhat Linh’s parents opened a restaurant serving Vietnamese food in Nihonmatsu, a city in Fukushima Prefecture.

In March 2017, the murder of Linh in Matsudo, a city east of Tokyo, was widely reported. She was nine years old.

She went missing after leaving home for school. Her body was discovered two days later. The murder horrified and outraged millions of Japanese and Vietnamese people.

More than a year later, the culprit, a Japanese man named Yasumasa Shibuya, now 52, received a life sentence.

He was the girl’s neighbor and head of the parents’ association at the school she went to.

According to the indictment, Shibuya kidnapped Linh on the morning of March 24, 2017 in his car. He molested and then strangled the girl to death and left her naked body near a drainage ditch.

Blood and saliva matching Linh’s DNA was found in Shibuya’s car, indicating that he was the culprit, the judge said.

Linh’s parents, who live and work in Japan, gathered tens of thousands of signatures from citizens of both countries, hoping that public pressure would urge prosecutors to call for Shibuya to be sentenced to death, but the sentence was unchanged.

Before she died, Linh used to tell her family that she “wishes to become a bridge to connect Vietnam and Japan,” according to KFB Fukushima Broadcasting.

“She once said she wants to cook Vietnamese food for her Japanese friends,” Linh’s father, Le Anh Hao, 40, told Fukushima Minpo.

To commemorate their daughter, Hao and his wife, Nguyen Thi Nguyen, 36, decided to open the restaurant.

Named Hao Nguyen Coffee & Restaurant, the venue serves Vietnamese signatures such as banh mi, pho and chicken rice.

Linh was the couple’s first child. The girl was born in Vietnam when her father was away from home working in Japan.

The family moved to Japan and settled down when Linh had yet to turn three. After that they have another boy, who adored Linh and kept asking where his sister had gone, the mother told VnExpress last December.

The couple had two more children, a boy and a girl.

“We never dare to let any of our children go out alone anymore,” the mother said.

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