• The Associated Press


A man accused of raping and murdering a British woman found dismembered in a seaside cave in 2000 was expected to take the stand this week, the victim’s father said Tuesday, as the focus of the case shifted to defense arguments.

Real estate developer Joji Obara has been on trial since December 2000 for the killing of Lucie Blackman, a 21-year-old hostess at a Tokyo bar when she went missing after telling a friend she was going for a drive with a customer.

The former British Airways flight attendant’s father, Tim Blackman, said in an e-mail message to reporters in Japan that he was traveling to Tokyo for the court sessions on Wednesday and Friday, and that Obara would testify.

“This week, Obara is due to appear in the witness box twice to answer questions and give a statement on his involvement in Lucie’s disappearance,” Blackman wrote in the brief message.

His daughter’s disappearance in July 2000 triggered one of Japan’s highest-profile hunts in years. After seven months, her dismembered body was found in a Kanagawa Prefecture cave.

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