Police have yet to make any significant progress in the Lucie Blackman case, despite the arrest last week of a company executive suspected of having had some connection with the missing Briton.
Joji Obara, 48, was arrested Oct. 12 on suspicion of molesting a Canadian bar hostess at his seaside apartment in 1996 after plying her with alcohol. Similarities between that case and Blackman’s led police to believe Obara may know of Blackman’s whereabouts.
Blackman, 22, who was working as a bar hostess in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, told a friend by phone shortly before her disappearance on July 1 that she was going for a drive with a man to a beach.
The police recently set up a special squad of 100 officers — double the usual size of such teams — to investigate Obara as a suspected serial molester, as several other foreign women have told the police he molested them after plying them with alcohol.
But Obara is refusing to respond to police questioning and the team has struggled to find any significant clues that might lead to the cases, especially Blackman’s, being solved.
Investigators have continued to search Obara’s condominiums in Zushi and Miura, Kanagawa Prefecture, as well as his residence and cars in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward. They have seized more than 2,000 items, including specimens of light-colored hair, drugs, video cameras and mobile phones.
Police said the seized video tapes include scenes of a man molesting numerous women. The police suspect Obara took the foreign bar hostesses to his condominium, where he taped the scenes.
Obara reportedly had numerous debts following the burst of the asset-inflated bubble economy of the late 1980s and often dodged his creditors by moving house.
Obara was quoted as telling police he does not want to talk about the allegations against him.
Despite this, he reportedly continued to live the high life, driving imported luxury cars and frequenting bars employing foreign women, where he was known by a variety of aliases, including Yuji and Koji.
“Obara has ordered the most expensive dishes for two for home delivery about once a month for the last three or four years,” a sushi restaurant manager in Zushi said.
Earlier this month, shortly before his arrest, Obara also paid 3.5 million yen for a motorboat in Yokohama.
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