The book's title is "Setagaya Ikka Satsujin Jiken: Jugonen-me no Shin Jijitsu" (The Setagaya Family Murder Case: 15 years on, the new facts). Released by Kadokawa Publishing Co on Dec 5, the 254-page work is authored by Fumiya Ichihashi, the nom de plume of a former journalist at the Mainichi Shimbun who is recognized as one of Japan's most famous investigative writers.
It was on December 30, 2000 -- the penultimate night of the 20th century -- that the murder of an entire family occurred at a house adjacent to a public park in Kamisoshigaya 3-chome in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward.
The crime, relates Asahi Geino (Dec 17), was discovered around 10 a.m. on the morning of Dec 31, when the mother of Yasuko Miyazawa, who lived next door, repeatedly buzzed her daughter on the intercom. Thinking it strange to receive no response, she walked next door, and using her own key to let herself in, found her son-in-law, Mikio Miyazawa, age 44, lying dead on the floor from knife wounds. Her daughter, Yasuko, 41, granddaughter Niina, 10, and grandson Rei, 6, were also slain.
As the police forensic team combed through the Miyazawa house, they found that the killer had left behind so many clues, and his apprehension was likely to be just a matter of time. The police went so far as to determine what the killer had eaten in a previous meal -- something containing string beans and sesame seeds -- known because he stayed around long enough to use the Miyazawa's toilet to have a bowel movement.
The killer's DNA suggested that his origins might not be Japanese, and indeed numerous forensic data, such as his distinctive shoe prints, indicated at the very least he had some ties to the Korean peninsula.
"The killer was a male of Asian extraction," a police source tells the magazine. "His DNA carried a marker from his father that occurs in one out of every 13 Japanese; one out of about 10 Chinese, and one in every 5 or so Koreans. Based on mitochondrial DNA, his mother had an ancestor originating from the southern Mediterranean area, probably around the Adriatic."
Because of the possibility of an international angle, the investigation was undertaken by staff at two sections of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department -- the Investigative Section 1, which could be described as the MPD's major case squad, and the department of Public Security, which networks with law enforcement organizations overseas.
It was a South Korean man referred to only as "K" who pointed author Ichihashi in the direction of the killer, who in the book is given the pseudonym "R."
"For more than 30 years," Ichihashi tells Asahi Geino, "I've researched various crimes in detail, not only obtaining materials about the ongoing investigation, but also visiting the scenes of the crime, and meeting with people involved, including survivors. I share what I dig up with the police, and they reciprocate."
Among evidence found at the crime scene were particles of soil traced to South Korea's Gyeonggi Province (which includes the area surrounding Seoul). Other microscopic evidence also suggested ties to Korea.
Perhaps the biggest puzzle up to now has been the motive for the killings. According to Ichihashi's book, people in the neighborhood whose homes were affected by expansion of the nearby park were paid considerable compensation, in some cases over 100 million yen. When conveying concerns over her son's health condition to the aforementioned Mr K, Yasuko Miyazawa, is believed to have mentioned the financial windfall, which K targeted by procuring the services of "R."
Ichihashi claims to have "made contact" with "R," who's described as "a former member of the South Korean military." Ichihashi was able to obtain the man's fingerprints, which he determined to be a match with those collected at the crime scene by the police.
Ichihashi's book may supply some fascinating new angles to the puzzle, but it appears readers will have to be content with being tantalized rather than seeing the loose ends neatly tied up in a manner that leads to the arrest of the killer.
Certainly for the family members of the victims, whose hearts still ache over this tragedy, anything less than a full solution is meaningless. Steps should be taken to give them closure, the magazine concludes, and the sooner the better.© Japan Today