• Kyodo


The two women found dead Tuesday afternoon with a man they met through a suicide Web site had been missing for more than a week and one of them was mentally unstable, Saitama police said.

The three, all unemployed, were found dead of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning in a vacant apartment in the Shimofujisawa district of Iruma, Saitama Prefecture, police said Wednesday, noting the victims had been dead for several days.

The man was identified as Michio Sakai, 26, a resident of Iruma. The women were identified as Miki Goto, 24, from Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, and Akiko Sato, 24, from Kawasaki.

Police said Sato had been missing since Feb. 2 and Goto since Feb. 5. Both families filed missing person reports with local police Monday.

Police said Sato had suffered mental instability.

Saitama Prefectural Police said a 17-year-old high school girl from Tochigi Prefecture found the bodies and told investigators that she had become acquainted with the three through the Web site, which catered to people who want to take their own lives.

The three were lying on a plastic sheet in a tatami room in a ground-floor unit. The apartment was locked and the windows sealed with adhesive tape. Four portable charcoal stoves, with burned charcoal, and two barbecue stoves were found inside the tatami room.

The high school student, who found the bodies around 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, told investigators she decided to look in on her three friends because she was not able to contact them for several days.

Police said the girl met the three at a karaoke bar in Tokyo’s Shibuya district in mid-January and together they set a date and place for committing suicide.

The three, dressed in casual clothes, apparently died several days before they were found, police said. None had any external wounds.

According to police, Sakai posted a “suicide” bulletin on the Internet site Dec. 9, seeking suicide partners. He specified Saitama Prefecture as the site and carbon monoxide poisoning with charcoal as the method.

According to neighbors, the four-unit, two-floor apartment house, about 1 km from Musashi Fujisawa Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line, had been vacant for more than a year.

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