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Death penalty sought for man charged with killing Chinese sisters in Yokohama

Kyodo

Prosecutors on Wednesday demanded the death penalty for a 40-year-old man accused of killing two Chinese sisters and leaving their bodies stuffed in travel bags in a wooded area southwest of Tokyo last summer.

Tatsuya Iwasaki allegedly strangled Chen Baolan, 25, and her sister Chen Baozhen, 22, at their apartment in Yokohama on July 6, 2017, and abandoned their remains in the mountains in Hadano, Kanagawa Prefecture, the next day after packing their bodies into travel bags, according to the indictment.

“It was a planned act of extremely atrocious cruelty,” the prosecutors told a hearing at the Yokohama District Court, adding that Iwasaki killed the “blameless sisters in a consecutive manner, thinking lightly of human lives.”

Iwasaki had been romantically interested in the elder sister but killed her after coming to believe that she wished to use him to contract a fake marriage, according to the prosecutors. He then murdered the younger sister to try to cover up the crime, they said.

His defense counsel said Iwasaki was not involved in the killings and claimed that he only cooperated with a plan to make it look like the two women had disappeared, as the elder sister’s right to legally reside in Japan was about to expire.

The district court is scheduled to hand down a ruling on July 20.