• Kyodo


A 28-year-old ex-pachinko parlor employee was arrested Wednesday in the slaying of 16-year-old Masato Takahashi of Mishima, Niigata Prefecture, who was doused with kerosene and set alight.

According to investigators, Yoshimi Hoshino called police from a pay phone at around 1:40 a.m. Wednesday, saying, “I want to turn myself in.”

The sources did not say whether or motive for the attack has been established but said police have learned that the victim had trouble with a woman related to the bar.

Authorities continue to search for a 31-year-old man from Muikamachi, Niigata Prefecture, who they believe was also involved in the murder.

Hoshino allegedly conspired with the man to kill Takahashi and his friend, also 16, by setting them ablaze at around 5 a.m. Monday in the Warabino Tunnel, a highway tunnel in Muikamachi.

Takashi was killed but his friend, also doused in kerosene, managed to flee and asked for help from a nearby resident. He reportedly told investigators he had never previously met Hoshino.

According to investigators, Takahashi and the unnamed friend were taken in a car by the 31-year-old man and a 32-year-old bar owner to Muikamachi on Sunday night. Neither man was identified by name.

Hoshino later joined them in another car, and he and the 31-year-old man headed for the tunnel, taking the two boys with them, sources said. The bar owner allegedly left at that point. He reportedly said he was assaulted and has filed a criminal complaint.