• Kyodo


The body of a Swiss-based Japanese financier and another body believed to be that of his wife have been found in Saitama Prefecture after the couple vanished in early December after traveling back from Switzerland, police said Tuesday.

The bodies, which had been buried, showed signs of strangulation, and the police launched a probe on suspicion of murder and the illegal disposal of corpses.

Police obtained warrants for suspects and Tuesday evening arrested a man identified as Takaaki Kuwahara, 41, in Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture, on suspicion of abandoning the corpses. Investigators were reportedly continuing to search for additional suspects.

They identified one body as that of financier Makoto Shimomi, 51, and were seeking to confirm whether the other is that of Mie Shimomi, 48, his wife.

The couple disappeared after leaving their condo in Ginza, Tokyo, on Dec. 7, the police said.

A vehicle in which the couple are believed to have traveled was found near the bodies in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture.

Before leaving their condo with a pet dog at around 5 p.m. Dec. 7, the two had told others that they were going to Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, at the invitation of an acquaintance to attend a party featuring a famous singer.

No such party was held and the police suspect the invitation was bogus.

The couple, who owned several condominiums both in Japan and abroad, were slated to return to Switzerland on Dec. 14. Their air tickets and passports were still in the Ginza condo.

On Dec. 20, a man wearing a mask attempted to use Shimomi’s credit card to purchase bullet train coupon tickets worth some ¥3 million at JR Tokyo Station but left the station after he was asked to identify himself.