Wake held for murdered DPJ lawmaker Koki Ishii

A wake was held at a temple in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward on Sunday for murdered lawmaker Koki Ishii, a House of Representatives member in the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

His Russian wife, Natalia, family members, relatives and some 3,000 other people, including lawmakers from both in and out of the DPJ, attended the wake at Shokokuji Temple.

DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama expressed his sorrow over the murder.

Satomi Watanabe, a 58-year-old neighbor of Ishii, said, “Mr. Ishii worked hard to help people in the community. It is very sad he lost his life in such a way.”

Ishii, 61, was fatally stabbed in front of his house in the ward Friday.

Hakusui Ito, 48, a rightwing extremist, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of killing Ishii. He had reportedly sought money from the lawmaker, who refused him.

Asked about his murder motive, Ito reportedly told the police that he asked Ishii to help him with his rent.

Ito’s rent problems

A rightwing extremist arrested Saturday on suspicion of fatally stabbing Diet member Koki Ishii on Friday had been chronically late with rent payments and had problems with his landlords, sources said Sunday.

Hakusui Ito, 48, who was sent to prosecutors Sunday, was in arrears for failing to pay his monthly rent of 98,000 yen for an apartment in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward for the first half of 1999, the sources said.

When his landlord asked him to leave the unit, Ito demanded 500,000 yen, saying he needed the money to look for a new place to live, the sources said. The landlord paid him because he feared the extreme rightist, they said.

Ito was also evicted Oct. 17 from his apartment in Setagaya Ward, where he had been living since the latter part of 1999, because he owed rent of about 2 million yen, investigative sources said earlier.

Ishii, a member of the largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan, was fatally stabbed in front of his house in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward on Friday morning.