A rightwing extremist arrested over the murder of Lower House member Koki Ishii has told police that he staked out the victim’s office and home for several days, intending to kill the lawmaker as soon as the chance arose, investigative sources said Tuesday.
Hakusui Ito, 48, allegedly stabbed the 61-year-old opposition lawmaker to death in front of Ishii’s house in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward on Oct. 25. Ito turned himself in to police the following day.
Investigators quoted Ito as saying he “watched Ishii’s house and the Diet members’ office complex (in Nagata-cho) almost every day” (after being evicted from his apartment Oct. 17), so that he could commit the crime whenever there was a chance.
Asked why he stabbed the Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker, Ito said Ishii began avoiding him from around the beginning of this year, claiming he was too busy, according to the investigators.
Police have revealed that Ito had been chronically late in paying his rent, prompting his landlord to eventually force him out.
Police earlier quoted Ito as saying he killed Ishii because the lawmaker had turned down his request for help with his rent. Ito had reportedly failed to pay 2 million yen in rent over the past three years.
Ito had been a frequent visitor to the lawmaker’s office over the past several years, Ishii’s aides have said, although they claimed they did not know what was going on between him and the victim. Media reports have alleged that Ishii and Ito had known each other since the lawmaker was first elected to the Diet in 1993.
Investigators have found that Ito bought the murder weapon — a kitchen knife — at a supermarket in Setagaya Ward in January or February.
He also had hidden about 20 “shuriken” ninja-style throwing-stars in a box on his scooter. He told police that he was planning to use them if Ishii’s chauffeur tried to stop him when he attacked the lawmaker.
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