• Kyodo


Police on Monday arrested a 33-year-old man in Shizuoka Prefecture in connection with the fatal umbrella stabbing of a 55-year-old man in Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, last week after a street quarrel.

Police identified the suspect as Hiroshi Makabe, a real estate employee in Hatsukaichi.

Police suspect that Makabe, who was arrested at around 11:30 p.m. in Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture, stabbed Toshimi Kuwabara with an umbrella last Thursday on a narrow street near the home of the victim’s mother. The suspect was brought to the investigative headquarters set up at the Hatsukaichi Police Station on Tuesday morning.

Makabe told investigators that he and Kuwabara tried to pass each other in their cars on the street, which is about 4 meters wide.

“As our cars passed each other, Kuwabara told me to move back. I did so, and yielded way, but he threw verbal abuse my way, and I lost my temper and chased him,” investigators quoted Makabe as saying.

The suspect said that the argument became violent and he stabbed Kuwabara with the umbrella, police said. However, he denied intending to kill the man.

Investigators said they suspect Makabe chased Kuwabara before the fatal attack, because the scene of the crime was about 50 meters from where the vehicles passed each other.

Makabe lived in the neighborhood where the slaying occurred but ditched his own car in the city of Hiroshima after the incident and fled with his wife in a vehicle borrowed from a friend, investigators said. Police had been searching for him based on witness reports.

Shizuoka police found the car in Ito on Monday evening and Makabe confessed to the killing during questioning at the local police station, police sources said.

Kuwabara, who suffered wounds to his face and throat, died shortly after he was taken to a local hospital. The umbrella had apparently pierced his skull and penetrated his brain.

Before he died, Kuwabara told his mother that he did not know the assailant.

The slaying took place at around 7 a.m. in a quiet residential area about 1 km north of Miyauchikushido Station on the JR Sanyo Line.

Kuwabara, who was unemployed, had just arrived at his mother’s house in his car to take her to visit a relative in a Hiroshima hospital but immediately got into a quarrel with a man in his 20s or 30s after he parked his car, according to witness accounts.

Kuwabara’s mother, 77, broke down in tears upon hearing of the suspect’s arrest and said she was relieved that the killer was swiftly found, according to investigators.

Makabe submitted his resignation to his employer Tuesday.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.