Okinawa arrest follows discovery of two missing peoples’ bodies

Okinawa Prefectural Police have taken a 41-year-old unemployed man into custody in Miyakojima in connection with the deaths of a wealthy Swiss-based financier and his wife in mainland Japan.

The man and his wife had gone missing in December after returning to Japan from Switzerland.  The bodies of the 51-year-old financier, Makoto Shimomi, and his 48-year-old wife Mie were found on a lot in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture.  They’d last been heard from December 7th when they left their Tokyo Ginza district apartment.  Officials say the Shimomis had told friends they had been invited to a party in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture.

Shimomi’s body was identified by fingerprints, and his wife’s identity by dental records.  Final identification will be by DNA tests when autopsies are performed.  The bodies were found after a car belonging to someone who knew the couple and issued the party invitation was found abandoned near the burial site.  Police say all evidence of them attending a party in honor of a hotel opening was a fraud, and the Shimomis may have been tricked into leaving Tokyo.

Police quickly obtained warrants for suspects and Tuesday evening arrested Takaaki Kuwahara in Miyakojima.  The initial charge is suspicion of abandoning the corpses.  Police are being close-mouthed as to what led them to Kuwahara.

The couple owns condominiums in both Japan and Europe.  Plane tickets and their passports were found in the Ginza condo, but a man wearing a mask attempted to use Shimomi’s credit card on December 20th to purchase a book of bullet train coupon tickets worth about ¥3 million ($34,500).  The man fled when he was asked by JR Tokyo Station employees to identify himself.  The couple had told friends they were returning to Switzerland in mid-December.

The bodies had been buried beneath two meters of soil at the vacant lot in Kuki.  The bodies appeared to have been strangled, and police immediately began an investigation on murder and illegal disposal of corpses.  They’re searching for additional suspects.