The founder of the Life Space self-enlightenment group on Monday denied responsibility for moving a member of the group from a hospital in Hyogo Prefecture to a hotel in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, where the man’s mummified corpse was found earlier this month.
Koji Takahashi, who describes himself as a “guru,” said in an interview with Kyodo News that he had given no instructions for Shinichi Kobayashi, a retired company worker, to be moved to the Narita hotel where he subsequently died.
According to police, Kobayashi, then 61, collapsed in late June after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage and was taken to a municipal hospital in Itami, Hyogo Prefecture. He was removed from the hospital by followers of Life Space, including his own son, on July 2.
His mummified body was found by police officers who entered the Narita hotel room on Nov. 11.
Speaking in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, Takahashi said, “Kobayashi’s eldest son came to me around June 29, asking me for advice on the treatment of his father.”
“I told him that I would welcome it if he had decided (to move Kobayashi out of the hospital). I did not give any instructions myself,” Kobayashi said.
Members of Life Space who helped move Kobayashi from the hospital say they had been requested to do so by his son. The group, with Kobayashi, reportedly took a direct flight to Narita from Itami before going to the hotel, where Takahashi was staying.
According to the members, Kobayashi was unable to speak clearly when he was removed from the hospital.
Chiba Prefectural Police recently searched a room at the Narita hotel that was previously occupied by Life Space followers in connection with Kobayashi’s death.
The members checked out after Kobayashi’s body was discovered but left paintings and other belongings behind, police said.
Police have obtained medical data about Kobayashi from the hospital in Hyogo Prefecture where he had been admitted. Police also said they have been taking statements from people involved with Life Space on suspicion that they left Kobayashi to die.
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