• Kyodo


A 35-year-old man being held in connection with the death of a female university student whose body was found buried last month in Kamisu, Ibaraki Prefecture, was formally arrested Sunday on suspicion of her murder.

Koichi Hirose, who was initially arrested on Jan. 31 for allegedly dumping the body of 18-year-old student Natsumi Kikuchi, admitted to choking her to death but remained silent about his motive, investigative sources said.

On the day Hirose was taken into custody, Kikuchi’s body was found in a field about 12 kilometers from his apartment.

Kikuchi, a native of Tochigi Prefecture who had resided in Tokyo, went missing after visiting the city on Nov. 20. Hirose told investigators he and the student came to know each other through an internet bulletin board.

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