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Chiba police: Trio motivated by insurance payout in murder

CHIBA (TR) – Chiba Prefectural Police have arrested three men over the alleged murder of a fourth man via drowning during what was supposedly a fishing trip in Futtsu City earlier this year.

According to police, Yasuo Shishikura, 48, Yusuke Sanaka, 31, and Eiji Kaneko, 50, carried out a plan to kill Takuya Shishikura, the adopted son of Yasuo, for the purpose of collecting payments from life insurance policies taken out in the name of the victim, reports Nikkan Sports (Aug. 29).

Early on January 27, the suspects allegedly used unspecified means to cause Takuya, then 23, to fall into the water at Hamakanaya Port. They then made his death appear to have been an accident drowning.

At around 6 a.m. that day, one of the suspects telephoned emergency services to report that Takuya had gone missing. The Japan Coast Guard then began searching the area.

Takuya was found at the bottom of the ocean about 40 meters from the pier at around 2:10 p.m. that day. He was later confirmed dead at the scene.

Yusuke Sanaka, left, Yasuo Shishikura, center, and Eiji Kaneko (Twitter)

Life insurance policies

Takuya was painter living in Chiba City’s Wakaba Ward. Yasuo is the head of a construction firm that employed Takuya. Yasuo adopted him last year.

Sanaka is a tattoo artist. He regularly received work from Yasuo. Meanwhile, Kaneko worked with Takuya at the construction firm.

In 2015, a life insurance policy valued at 50 million yen was taken out in the name of Takuya. The beneficiary was his mother.

However, the name on the policy was changed to that of Yasuo last November, about months before the incident. Two additional policies were taken out in Takuya’s name last August and October, respectively.

The night before the incident, the suspects took Takuya to a kyabakura (hostess club) in Chiba City. After forcing him to drink large quantities of alcohol, they drove him to the port inside a vehicle owned by Yasuo. Kaneko was behind the wheel the next morning.

Takuya was then forced into the water. “One of my colleagues has gone missing while fishing,” the suspect who made the call to emergency services said.

Takuya Shishikura (Twitter)

Investigation

According to police, the crime was plotted in advance. On August 25, investigators searched Yasuo’s residence in Yachimata City, Chiba.

An examination of the mobile telephones of Yasuo and Sanaka revealed what are believed to be discussions about the alleged crime via the smartphone application Line.

One message dating back to last summer suggests “killing Takuya for the insurance payout.” In another written after the crime, one of them wrote, “I had a dream about killing Takuya.” Another message said, “It’s been two months.”

The exchanges were later deleted, likely as a means of hiding evidence, police said.

The suspects have generally admitted to the allegations as presented by law enforcement. However, details have been disputed.

During questioning, Kaneko said, “My role was to push [Takuya into the sea], but I hesitated. Instead, Sanaka pushed him.” However, Sanaka said he “did not do it.”

The three suspects were sent to prosecutors on suspicion of murder on Friday.