Sat, Jul 03, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Japanese man admits murder of Taiwan student


Japanese police said yesterday that a Taiwanese student who was found dead on Thursday after having been missing for nearly two days died of strangulation, and that a suspect in the case had turned himself in to police on Thursday afternoon.

Japanese police said that an autopsy was completed yesterday afternoon and that police were continuing to investigate the suspect's motive and other details of the case.

The victim -- Hsiao Jen-chiao (蕭任喬), 21, a Japanese Literature major at Taiwan's Providence University -- was reported missing on Monday night by her brother, Hsiao Jen-kai (蕭任凱).

Hsiao Jen-kai told authorities that his sister had left their hotel at about 11pm to buy a telephone card at a nearby 7-Eleven and make a phone call, but had not returned. Hsiao Jen-kai reported his sister missing to the Yamanashi prefecture at 3am Tuesday.

A large-scale search turned up Hsiao Jen-chiao's body.

Police report that the suspect, a 25-year-old surnamed Watanabe, has said that he approached the young woman and offered her a ride when he noticed that she was alone. Hsiao Jen-chiao accepted his offer, and then, according to the police account, Watanabe "did something that [I] should not have done."

The murder has shocked Japan.

A firecracker festival that was supposed to be held in the area of the murder today was canceled because of the murder.

The victim's parents, who live in Changhwa County, are said to be devastated by the death of their daughter.

Hsiao Jen-chiao's friends and teachers all deeply deplored Hsiao's death yesterday, saying that Hsiao was an easygoing and optimistic young woman.

"It was her first time traveling abroad and we never expected that she would be killed in Japan, where we thought there was good public safety," the victim's aunt said tearfully.

The Ministry of Foreign has provided aid to the family to travel to Japan to make funeral arrangements.

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