National

Cops said to let slide spat involving massacre suspect

Kyodo

Police took no action when one of the victims in Monday’s mass murder in Kakogawa, Hyogo Prefecture, pleaded for help in 2002 when the suspect in the slayings pushed him to the ground during an argument, the victim’s colleague and other sources said Friday.

Toshihiko Fujishiro, 64, who was killed along with six other relatives early Monday, had been constantly bothered by Yasutaka Fujishiro, 47, a distant relative who, according to police, has admitted murdering the seven “due to long years of hatred.”

The police officer who arrived at the scene shortly after the shoving incident told Toshihiko the two would have to solve the problem on their own because it was a “local issue,” the sources said.

Toshihiko had problems with Yasutaka for several years over issues such as car noise and had worried about his safety because police allegedly did not respond to his complaints, the sources said, adding that the victim felt police would only act if he were hurt.

A coworker of Toshihiko’s said Yasutaka shoved Toshihiko hard enough to knock him down in summer 2002, leading the victim’s wife to call police. Yasutaka had already left when they arrived at the scene.

The coworker said the officer told Toshihiko, who had pleaded for help, the he should try to resolve the problem without police help. The policeman did not attempt to speak to Yasutake, even though he lived nearby.

“Nothing has changed,” Toshihiko reportedly told the coworker the next day.

“Why didn’t the police listen to Toshihiko then? Had they listened, this would never have happened,” the coworker said.

Deputy Chief Yukio Kurume of the Kakogawa Police Station claimed police have no record of the incident.

“I have not heard of such a dispute,” he said.

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