• Kyodo


A man arrested Wednesday in connection with the slaying of a Swiss-based Japanese financier and his wife has confessed to killing the couple, claiming he held a grudge against the asset manager over investment losses, police sources said Friday.

Tsuyoshi Watanabe, a 43-year-old corporate executive, has said he strangled Makoto Shimomi, 51, and his wife, Mie, 48, after luring them from their condo in Tokyo on Dec. 7, the sources said. Watanabe and Shimomi became acquainted about a year ago and investigators believe the murder was triggered by financial trouble between the two.

The couple’s bodies were found buried in a vacant lot in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture, earlier in the week. On Tuesday, police on Okinawa’s Miyako Island arrested Takaaki Kuwahara, 41, a former subordinate of Watanabe, before taking Watanabe into custody the following day also on the island. Both faced initial technical charges of abandoning corpses.

Investigators believe Watanabe, who said he was the sole perpetrator, plotted the murder around September, when he asked an acquaintance in Saitama to purchase a van and the lot, for which he paid between ¥2 million to ¥3 million in cash.

On Sept. 27, the acquaintance told a real estate agency he planned to buy the lot, saying he was going to turn it into farmland without telling his wife. He bought the land for ¥1.25 million on Nov. 10 and the van around that time, other sources said.

Neighbors saw several men fencing in the lot and taking in heavy machinery to dig holes between late November and early December.

It was reported earlier this week that Watanabe was being held in a hospital on Miyako after attempting suicide.