Chinese man 'may have clue' to Japan supermarket murders

Tokyo authorities return man from Canada to help in triple murder probe

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 November, 2013, 2:52pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 November, 2013, 4:04am


Nearly 20 years after the killing of three Tokyo supermarket workers shocked Japan, police are hoping the extradition of a 43-year-old Chinese man from Canada will shed some light on the unsolved case, reports said yesterday.

The unnamed Chinese man, who has lived in Canada since 2006 when he landed there as a refugee, resided in Japan in 1995 and may know the killer, the Jiji Press news agency and other media reported quoting police sources.

One of his Japanese acquaintances, a mobster executed in China in 2010 for drug trafficking, told Japanese police in 2009 that the Chinese man "may know something about the culprit" as he knew about the murders in great detail, the reports said.

The press office of the Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo could not confirm the reports.

In July 1995, three female workers on night duty in the office of a supermarket in a Tokyo suburb were shot point-blank in the head and killed.

The killer got away without stealing money and jewellery from the victims or the locked safe in the office, a fact which has puzzled police and given rise to speculation that the shooting was motivated by a grudge.

The victims - a 47-year-old woman and two high school girls, aged 16 and 17 - were all part-time workers at the supermarket.

The case shocked Japan where possession of firearms is tightly controlled.

After tracking down the Chinese man, a native of Fujian province , Tokyo police demanded in 2010 that Canadian authorities extradite him for a relatively minor case.

He allegedly left Japan in 2002 on a passport bearing the identity of a Japanese man. He later obtained permanent residency in Canada.

In September last year, a lower court in Canada approved his extradition to Japan and an appeal court upheld the decision in September this year, the reports said.

The man's lawyer told Jiji Press that he wanted the Japanese side not to detain and prosecute him on charges other than a violation of the passport control law, and not to hand him over to China.

Tokyo police were planning to arrest the man on false passport charges and question him over the murders as well, the reports said.