Tatsuya Ichihashi, 30, who had eluded police for 2 years and 7 months, was finally apprehended at a ferry terminal in Minami, Osaka, on Nov 10. He is currently being held over the 2007 rape and murder of English teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker.
In the meanwhile, the construction company in Ibaraki, Osaka, where Ichihashi worked as a day laborer and lived in the dorm for over a year, has suffered the consequences of its connection to Ichihashi. A number of clients terminated their contracts with the company, suspecting that it might have been intentionally harboring the suspect. The situation had become so dire that the company was not even certain its business would survive the end of the year.
According to the president of this company, “At one point, half of our clients had left us. We were told that they couldn’t do business with a company that did not even check the identity of its employees. The possibility did occur to me that there might be a backlash as soon as we reported to the police that Ichihashi worked here, but I felt it was our civic duty to do so.”
However, the rejection by companies they had a business relationship with was far worse than the president imagined. “We were in a very bad situation. Even the banks started calling us. Because of the news that reported on contract terminations, I guess they were worried we wouldn’t be able to make payments. Fortunately, there were others who saw the media reports and felt we were being unfairly victimized. Our business has recovered and we work daily at various construction sites now.”
It was the son of the president of this construction company who contacted police about Ichihashi. There was to be a cash reward of 10 million yen for information that would lead to his capture, but the manner by which the money would be distributed had been unclear. But the president commented that he did not expect much, since their information did not directly contribute to Ichihashi’s arrest.
While his daily life and business is gradually returning to normal, the dorm room once occupied by Ichihashi still remains vacant.© Japan Today