• Kyodo

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The charred body of a female hotel owner was found late Tuesday night near the front lobby of her inn, and police have opened a homicide investigation, officials said Wednesday.

Eiko Kaneshiro, 40, owner of Hotel Sanwa, a three-story hotel in Nagoya’s Nakamura Ward, had suffered several blows to the head, apparently inflicted with a blunt object, they said.

Investigators suspect someone killed her, sprayed a flammable liquid all over her body and set it on fire.

Nakamura police initially learned of the death when the victim’s brother telephoned them at around 9 p.m. Tuesday to say his sister was dead at the hotel. Officers who rushed to the scene later identified the body as Kaneshiro.

According to police, the body was found face-up in a room next to the hotel lobby.

Cash was found untouched inside a small safe kept at the front desk. The floor of the room where the body was found was also charred, leading police to believe the body was burned there.

When Kaneshiro’s brother found the body, the two entrances to the hotel were reportedly locked, and none of the windows had been broken.

Police suspect Kaneshiro may have been killed by someone with access to the hotel’s keys, the officials said.

Kaneshiro lived with her 78-year-old mother at the hotel, located in a commercial district near JR Nagoya Station. The mother, who was sleeping in a different room on the first floor, told police she did not notice anything unusual. The hotel had no guests Tuesday night.

Kaneshiro had planned to visit her 44-year-old brother, who lives in Shiojiri, Nagano Prefecture, on Tuesday. The brother, who was unable to get in touch with Kaneshiro since Monday night, became worried and called another brother who lives in Nakamura Ward.

When the latter brother went to the hotel, he opened the front door by reaching in through an open window, according to police.

Coed slaying probed

A 19-year-old woman who was found dead in her apartment in Hachioji, western Tokyo, was apparently murdered and police are looking for her boyfriend, who was seen frequenting her flat, officials said.

Nana Suzuki, a sophomore at Jissen Women’s University in Tokyo, was found dead July 25.

Her friends had lost contact with her in mid-June, and other residents of the complex complained to the caretaker about a strange smell coming from Suzuki’s flat.

The caretaker, using a spare key to enter the room, found the victim lying face down on her bed. The door and all the windows had been locked.

Police later determined that Suzuki had been dead at least one month. She was dressed normally and there were no external wounds on the body, except for signs of internal bleeding on her neck, possibly suggesting she had been strangled.

Suzuki is believed to have met her boyfriend, who is reportedly in his 30s, when she worked at a part-time job earlier. Police found a note, dated mid-June, saying the man owed her more than 200,000 yen.

The note, apparently in the man’s handwriting, said he would repay the sum in monthly installments.

Suzuki, a native of Shizuoka Prefecture, entered the university last year. She was attending classes until June 20, according to people close to her.

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