• Kyodo


The Saitama District Court on Wednesday ordered two beneficiaries to return the payout from an insurance policy taken out on a Saitama Prefecture man who was believed murdered.

The court ordered 33-year-old restaurant employee Mayumi Take, and Takako Morita, a 39-year-old former financial company employee, to pay back up to 180 million yen to Nippon Life Insurance Co.

According to the court, the insurance company paid out 180 million yen following the death of Shuichi Sato, 45, who prosecutors said was poisoned by moneylender Shigeru Yagi, 51, and three female accomplices, including Take and Morita.

Sato was allegedly served a sweet-bean bun laced with a fatal amount of monkshood herb on June 3, 1995, at his house in Honjo, Saitama Prefecture.

The four, who were indicted last Dec. 13 on a charge of killing Sato, took out an insurance policy on him worth 180 million yen, according to the court. The third woman is Analie Sato Kawamura, 36, Sato’s former wife from a bogus marriage in 1990.

Prosecutors said the four dumped Sato’s body in the Tone River.

While Take and Morita accepted the insurance company’s demand at the first court hearing on April 18, they said they are unable to pay back the money. Kawamura separately agreed to the company’s demands and wrote a cognovit note to end the case.

Yagi, who intends to contest the demand, denies the criminal charges against him over the killing of Sato.

The four were also indicted on a charge of killing Takako’s husband, Akira Morita, on May 29, 1999, with a fatal dose of cold medicine.

Three of the four were also indicted on a charge of attempting to kill Analie’s husband, Fujimi Kawamura, the following day.

Although 1.4 billion yen in life insurance was taken out on Sato, Morita and Kawamura, the payees only received 300 million yen.

Yagi, who allegedly masterminded the plot, received most of the 300 million yen paid out by Nippon Life and other insurers.

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