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Senior health official stabbed to death in brother’s Tokyo apartment

Kyodo

A senior health official was fatally stabbed early Saturday, and her 52-year-old brother was later arrested for the murder, which allegedly occurred at his Tokyo apartment, the police said.

Tomoko Kitajima, 56, was head of the Kanto-Shinetsu Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare, a unit of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the police said. Before taking the position last month, she had been vice governor of Niigata Prefecture.

Her brother is suspected of stabbing the elite-track bureaucrat in the abdomen at his Minato Ward apartment at around 5:15 a.m. Saturday. Kitajima lived nearby.

Kitajima was taken to a hospital but was pronounced dead. The man’s daughter had called the police to report that her aunt had been stabbed.

The suspect’s name has been withheld as he is suspected to be mentally ill. He lives with his two children and mother.

Kitajima joined the health ministry in 1988 after a two-year stint with the Saitama Prefectural Government.

In a shocking double murder in Saitama in 2008, a former top health bureaucrat and his wife were stabbed to death in their home by a 52-year-old man who also tried to kill the wife of another elite bureaucrat in the ministry.

Killed were Takehiko Yamaguchi, 66, and his wife, Michiko, 61.

Yamaguchi was formerly administrative vice minister at the former Ministry of Health and Welfare, which became part of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

The man, Takeshi Koizumi, said he killed the pair to avenge the death of his pet dog, which was put down at a public health institute when he was a child. He also said he had killed evil entities, not humans.

His lawyers asked the top court to refrain from issuing the death penalty on the grounds that Koizumi was suffering from mental disorders at the time of the attacks, but his death sentence was finalized in June 2014.