National

Locksmiths facing murder charge

Police plan to serve fresh arrest warrants to two locksmiths on suspicion of murdering a freelance journalist preparing to write an expose of the lock industry, police sources said Monday.

Keizo Sakurai, 42, and Yoshihiro Kumamoto, 31, are suspected of killing Satoru Someya, 38, last year.

Someya, who wrote under the pen name Kuragaki Kashiwabara, covered the activities of Chinese criminal gangs in Tokyo’s Kabukicho entertainment district as well as the lock industry amid a rash of lock-picking burglaries in Tokyo and other parts of Japan.

In the book he was going to criticize Sakurai, a locksmith who appeared often in the media under the alias Takeshi Kihara, and with whom he had been at odds over money Sakurai had lent him, according to the sources.

The Metropolitan Police Department arrested Sakurai and Kumamoto in November on suspicion of confining Someya in an apartment in Kabukicho before the victim went missing in early September. The two have since been indicted on confinement charges.