Four men have been arrested on suspicion of causing the death of a 17-year-old youth by making him fall into a river in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture.
According to police, the incident occurred at around 6 a.m. on Monday. Fuji TV reported that the suspects called 119 reporting that their friend had disappeared after falling into the Tega River. Police and fire department personnel searched the river and found Ryuta Sato, a 17-year-old office employee from Abiko City, Chiba Prefecture, on the bottom of the river about four hours later.
Sato was naked when he was found. He was taken to hospital where he was confirmed dead.
Police said the suspects, Yohei Kojima, 22, Masumi Watanabe, 21, Junta Okada, 20, and a 19-year-old man who cannot be named because he is a minor, have been arrested on suspicion of murdering Sato by making him fall from a bridge into the three-meter-deep river where he drowned.
Local media reported the suspects told police that they and Sato went to the river to observe the sunrise from the bridge and that Sato had dropped his wallet in the river and went in to look for it alone.
Police said some of the suspects indicated that Sato and Kojima had a falling out over a money issue involving a couple of million yen. Police believe the group forced Sato to strip and then forced him to hang on to the bridge's parapet. Kojima and the other three told Sato that if he did not want to get beaten up, he should let go and fall into the river. Then Watanabe and the 19-year-old who were holding Sato's hands let him go, sending him into the river.
The suspects except for Kojima have admitted to the charge. Kojima has admitted that he was at the scene but insisted he was not involved in sending Sato to his death.© Japan Today