• Kyodo


Four males and three females were found dead Tuesday morning inside a station wagon in a mountain parking lot in Minano, Saitama Prefecture, police said.

Separately, two women were found dead in a car in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, around 6:15 a.m.

Investigative sources said they believed that one of the women in the Yokosuka incident and one of the women found in Minano were among four women who tried to kill themselves in the town of Okutama, western Tokyo, on Oct. 4, but were stopped by police.

Inside the station wagon in Minano, police found several suicide notes and four charcoal stoves, which are commonly used in suicides by carbon monoxide poisoning. The vehicle was wrapped in blue plastic sheets and was sealed from the inside with adhesive tape.

In recent years, a number of Web sites have sprung up in Japan to introduce suicidal people to others so that they can die together, often of carbon monoxide poisoning using charcoal stoves in sealed vehicles.

If it is confirmed that the seven met through such a site, it would be the largest number of deaths in a single such case, the National Police Agency said.

Investigators said later in the day that one of the seven was a 33-year-old housewife from the city of Saitama.

A note found near another woman read, “While mother will die, I was happy to have been able to give birth to you,” they added.

One of the seven found in Saitama sent an e-mail to a friend in Sapporo on Monday afternoon that mentioned a suicide plan involving seven people at Minano. The 21-year-old friend called the police, who then began a search.

The police were unable to locate the vehicle Monday evening. The bodies were discovered around 6:10 a.m. Tuesday.

The gray station wagon was rented by a young man Sunday morning, the police said. It had Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, license plates.

The seven were all wearing T-shirts and jeans. Their personal belongings, including mobile phones and bags, were found inside the car. An empty bottle of sleeping pills was found near the vehicle, the police said.

A female was found dead in the driver’s seat, two females and a male were in the middle seats and three other males were in the back seats.

The women found in Yokosuka were identified as a 27-year-old from Yokosuka and a 21-year-old from Setagaya Ward in Tokyo.

Two charcoal stoves and a note were found in the vehicle, which had also been rented.

The note reportedly said, “This is what we did between the two of us, so please don’t suspect any foul play.”

The police believe the pair met through a suicide-related Web site.

The women were found by someone taking a walk, they said.

Sources said that the four women in the Okutama incident lit a charcoal stove inside a tent and took sleeping pills. They ranged in age from 21 to 34.

Three weeks ago, four youths committed suicide by sealing themselves in a vehicle with a charcoal burner about 5 km from the parking lot in Minano.

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