HIROSHIMA – Police on Friday combed a fishery company in Hiroshima Prefecture where a 30-year-old Chinese trainee allegedly murdered a man and a woman and wounded six others.
The police arrested the suspect, Chen Shuangxi, a trainee working under a state-authorized program for foreigners in the island city of Etajima in the Seto Island Sea, at the scene of the attack. The slaying took place around 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the firm Kawaguchi Suisan.
The two fatalities were company President Nobuyuki Kawaguchi, 55, and Masako Hashishita, 68, an employee, the police said. One of the six victims wounded is in a coma.
The police said Chen has already owned up to the attack, confessing he assaulted the victims with the intention of killing them due to troubled relations with them.
Chen was arrested after police received a phone call reporting that a man was behaving aggressively at the firm and wielding a kitchen knife. Police said Chen is believed to have used several other weapons to attack the victims, including a shovel.
He had several stab wounds to his chest, which he said were self-inflicted, and was taken to a hospital in the city of Hiroshima by an emergency helicopter, police said, adding Chen’s wounds are not life-threatening.
Chen had been working at the company since last September, and had previously complained of Kawaguchi being abusive, one of his Chinese friends said. “The president called me things like stupid,” Chen was quoted as saying by the friend.
Kawaguchi’s corpse was found with multiple stab wounds, indicating Chen’s determination to kill him, the police said.
The other fatality, Hashishita, died after Chen beat her in the head with a shovel.
The president at another local fishery company reported seeing Chen crying by himself at his dormitory after work. “If someone had taken care of the trainee properly, none of this would have happened,” he said.
The police said Chen was absent from work Thursday due to illness. According to Chen’s friend, he was planning to visit his mother, wife and 6-year-old son in China in May.
The foreign trainee program was established in 1993 with the aim of transferring skills and technologies to developing economies. But many trainees have complained of receiving low or no pay, and working under extreme conditions during the first year because they are not covered by labor laws and regulations until the second year of the program, at which point they are designated as apprentices.
After immigration laws were revised in July 2010, the foreign trainees, who receive two months of lectures, including language training, as part of the program, were immediately allowed to become apprentices and be covered by the relevant laws and regulations to receive wages.
In some workplaces, however, foreign apprentices are still forced to work for low salaries under harsh conditions, said Ippei Torii, a member of Advocacy Network for Foreign Trainees, a group supporting trainees.