National / Crime & Legal

Tokyo man arrested for attempting to kill girl who was contemplating suicide


In an incident reminiscent of a mass murder case that shocked Japan last fall, police on Wednesday arrested a 28-year-old man in Tokyo on suspicion of attempting to murder a suicidal teenage girl with whom he became acquainted on social media, and who was contemplating suicide.

The suspect was identified as Kazunari Saito, an Asahi Shimbun newspaper delivery man from Hachioji, western Tokyo. He allegedly contacted the girl, who had expressed suicidal thoughts on Twitter, by sending a message in late December saying he could kill her, and lured her to his room in a dormitory run by his employer on Tuesday where he attempted to strangle her with string. Saito was not scheduled to work on Tuesday.

The girl escaped from the room early Wednesday after Saito left for work, and called her father for help, the police said.

Saito admitted to the allegations, saying he tried to kill her because she “asked for” it, they said.

“We are taking seriously the fact that one of the workers at the sales office, our business client, was arrested,” an Asahi Shimbun official said.

Last October Takahiro Shiraishi was taken into custody after police found multiple dismembered bodies in cooling boxes in his apartment in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture.

He is suspected of strangling and dismembering nine people, many of whom posted suicidal thoughts on Twitter before being approached by Shiraishi online and lured to his apartment.

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