The family of murdered British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker will visit Japan again next week on the 2nd anniversary of her death. Members of the family, led by Lindsay's father William, will arrive in Japan on Sunday.
On Monday, they will meet the new police chief at Gyotoku Police Station in Chiba Prefecture. The officer in charge of the investigation was recently replaced. After meeting with the police, the Hawkers and Lindsay’s friends will hand out flyers near Gyotoku station. On Tuesday, they will hold a press conference at the British embassy in Tokyo. They are also scheduled to have a meeting with the group Sora no Kai, that is campaigning for an end to the statute of limitations for murder cases.
The body of Hawker, 22, was discovered on March 26, 2007, buried in a bathtub of sand on the balcony of an apartment in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture just outside Tokyo.
According to investigations, Tatsuya Ichihashi, the lone suspect in the case, befriended Lindsay, who worked for Nova Corp as an English teacher, several days before her death and asked her for private English lessons. Security cameras caught them together in a coffee shop on the day before her body was found.
When nine police officers called at his apartment on March 26 after the language school reported it had been unable to contact her, Ichihashi fled from them, managing to slip away despite having no shoes on.
The police have explained in their defense that they were investigating a missing person at that point and did not expect Ichihashi to get aggressive.
Chiba police have conducted door-to-door investigations at about 7,000 sites including restaurants and adult-entertainment areas in the forests of neon in Tokyo and its vicinity in the Kanto region.
They have also sent investigators to 20 prefectures, from Fukushima to Nagasaki, in an effort to track Ichihashi down. More than 44,000 investigators have been involved and more than 3,300 reports have been gathered.
There have been witness reports of Ichihashi from all of Japan's 47 prefectures, as well as reports from other countries such as the Philippines, Canada and Portugal, according to the police.
But there has yet to be a breakthrough in the case.
In the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo, one of the areas where reported sightings of Ichihashi have been concentrated, police officers recently conducted intensive searches.
They asked at a members-only gay bar whether anyone had seen Ichihashi and the owner said, ''I heard rumors that he is staying at (a gay bar in) Shinjuku Ward.''
Hawker's family has questioned how Ichihashi has managed to be on the run for such a long time and urged the Japanese public to look for those who may be supporting him.
The National Police Agency has offered a reward of 1 million yen for information leading to the arrest of Ichihashi.© Compiled from wire reports