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A man turned himself in to the Metropolitan Police Department Saturday evening, claiming that he had killed a former health and welfare vice minister. Ten knives were found in a rented minivan he drove to the MPD; two were bloodstained. Police initially arrested the 46-year-old for illegal possession of weapons.

Police were to serve a second arrest warrant on the man on suspicion of murdering former health and welfare vice minister Takehiko Yamaguchi and his wife Michiko, who were found dead in their house in Saitama the morning of Nov. 18.

On the evening of the same day, Ms. Yasuko Yoshihara, the wife of another former health and welfare vice minister Kenji Yoshihara, was stabbed and seriously injured by a man who pretended to be a parcel delivery man.

Besides the knives, a pair of sneakers, bloodstained gloves and a cardboard box carrying a delivery slip addressed to Mr. Yoshihara were found in the vehicle. Police said one of the sneakers matched a footprint found near the house of the Yoshiharas. They also said information gleaned from the suspect’s confessions matched police findings and that DNA from blood found on the suspect’s belongings matched that of Mr. and Mrs. Yamaguchi and Ms. Yoshihara.

Since both Mr. Yoshihara and Mr. Yamaguchi served as heads of the former Health and Welfare Ministry’s Pension Bureau, it was suspected at first that these were terror attacks arising from public resentment over problems related to the pension system. But the motive reportedly given by the suspect does not appear strong enough to provoke a person to murder.

The suspect suggested that he was acting on a remote but persistent resentment against a public health center for destroying his pet dog when he was in primary school. He also reportedly said he was planning to kill other former health and welfare vice ministers. This unusual motive makes the attacks on top health and welfare bureaucrats all the more strange.

The suspect, a dropout from the engineering school at Saga University, could not hold down a job for a long period of time and may be strongly dissatisfied with his life. Public resentment over pension problems could have served as the catalyst to spur the criminal acts. Police should carefully and thoroughly delve into his motive and background.

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