6th Person Arrested over Burned Bodies Found in Eastern Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Investigators are seen in the area where two bodies were found in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japanese police on Tuesday arrested a 36-year-old acquaintance of a Tokyo couple whose bodies were found charred near a river in eastern Japan, making him the sixth person to be arrested over the case.

A joint investigation team of Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department and the Tochigi prefectural police department arrested Ryo Maeda for allegedly damaging the bodies of Ryutaro Takarajima, a 55-year-old company executive, and his wife, Sachiko, 56.

According to sources close to the investigation, Maeda, who works in the real estate business, is believed to have conspired with Seiha Sekine, who is the 32-year-old common-law husband of the couple’s first daughter, 28-year-old Hikaru Sasaki, 25-year-old construction worker Ryoken Hirayama, former actor Kirato Wakayama, 20, and a 20-year-old South Korean man to torch the bodies of the couple on April 16 in the town of Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Seiha Sekine leaves a police station in Tokyo on Monday.

Sekine, Sasaki, Hirayama, Wakayama and the South Korean national have all been arrested for allegedly damaging the bodies.

Police believe that Sekine orchestrated the entire affair, asking Maeda and others for their cooperation.

As Sasaki has said that he was asked to dispose of dead bodies by an individual who he did not know the face or name of, police suspect that those involved did not share a close personal connection, having no knowledge of the full names of one another, but rather were involved just for rewards.

According to the sources, surveillance camera footage showed the Takarajimas walking together with Maeda in the Ueno district in Tokyo’s Taito Ward on the night of April 15.

The couple, together with Maeda and Sekine, then traveled in a vehicle rented by Maeda to see a property in the Higashishinagawa district in the Japanese capital’s Shinagawa Ward.

Police have confirmed that the four in the rental vehicle left for an unoccupied house in Shinagawa managed by Maeda at around 11:30 p.m. that day.

After meeting with the South Korean man and Wakayama, the couple are believed to have been beaten up, and then taken to Nasu, where their bodies were found the following morning.