2nd suspect in murder of couple arrested after trying to commit suicide
Police in Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture, on Wednesday arrested a man in connection with the murder of a wealthy Swiss-based Japanese asset manager and his wife whose bodies were found buried in a vacant lot on Kuki, Saitama Prefecture, on Monday.
According to police, the suspect, identified as Tsuyoshi Watanabe, 43, tried to commit suicide on Tuesday afternoon by swallowing a toilet cleaning liquid. TBS reported that he was found lying beside his car on a road in the middle of a field in Miyakojima. Watanabe spent Tuesday night in hospital but was released into police custody and flown to Tokyo on Wednesday night.
Another suspect, Takaaki Kuwahara, 41, was arrested Tuesday, also in Miyakojima, and brought to Tokyo. Both men have been charged with abandoning bodies. Police said arrest warrants have been issued for a number of other men, but gave no other details.
The bizarre case has received a lot of media coverage this week.
The victims—financier Makoto Shimomi, 51, and his 48-year-old wife Mie, had been living in Switzerland for the past four year. They were said to live a high-flying lifestyle in Europe and owned apartments in Tokyo and Chiba, as well as several luxury cars.
The couple came back to Japan for a visit in November and were scheduled to return to Switzerland on Dec 14. However, they disappeared after leaving their Ginza apartment on Dec 7. They were seen getting into a car and were never heard from again.
TBS reported that the couple told friends that they had been invited by “an acquaintance” to a party in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, on Dec 7, but police have found no evidence of any scheduled party.
The two bodies were found buried in a shallow grave in a vacant lot in Kuki. Police said both victims appeared to have been strangled to death and there were no personal belongings on them.
Investigators also revealed that after the Shimomis went missing, Makoto’s credit card was used unsuccessfully at Tokyo Station by a man in a white face mask attempting to purchase 3 million yen worth of shinkansen ticket coupons. Some of their personal belongings were sold at pawnshops in Tokyo, police said.
On Wednesday, police said that Watanabe had been communicating by phone and email with Shimomi for about a year about investment deals, TBS reported.
Watanabe owned the plot of land where the bodies were found, police said.