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Tokyo: Pair nabbed over assisting suicide of literary critic Susumu Nishibe

Tetsugaku Kubota
Tetsugaku Kubota (Twitter)

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested two persons for helping literary critic Susumu Nishibe take his life in a plunge into the Tama River earlier this year, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Apr. 6).

Police have accused Tetsugaku Kubota, a 45-year-old employee of a subsidiary of broadcaster Tokyo MX, and Tadashi Aoyama, 54, of aiding an abetting Nishibe, whose body was found in the river on the morning of January 21.

Both suspects admit to the allegations, telling police that they wanted to respect the powerful view on life and death held by their elder. They were sent to prosecutors on the morning of April 7.

On the day of the incident, police arrived at the river after the 48-year-old son of Nishibe made a telephone call, saying that his father jumped into the water along a stretch in the Denenchofu area of Ota Ward.

After emergency personnel found Nishibe, he was confirmed dead at a hospital about two hours later. The cause of death was drowning. With a will found on the riverbank, the Denenchofu Police Station believed the literary critic intentionally took his life.

Both hands tied

Police later raised suspicions about whether Nishibe acted alone after learning that he suffered from a neurological problem that prevented him from doing some aspects of his work.

When the body of Nishibe was found both of his hands were tied to a rope affixed to a tree on the riverbank. Further, his mouth, which was wrapped by a cloth, contained a small bottle.

Given his handicap, police believed someone assisted the critic preparing the equipment needed to take his life.

According to police, Kubota worked on a program in which Nishibe appeared. Meanwhile, Aoyama studied under the literary critic.

The 49-year-old daughter of Nishibe told reporters on April 5 that the incident was extremely regrettable. “Even though he asked [the suspects] to help, they shouldn’t have listened,” she said.

Critical of Japan’s reliance on U.S.

Nishibe, a native of Hokkaido Prefecture, was once a professor at the University of Tokyo. He regularly appeared on debate programs, including “Asamade Nama TV!” on TV Asahi.

Though a conservative, Nishibe was known for being critical Japan’s continued reliance on the U.S. for defense. In 2003, he opposed the Iraq Ward in accordance with the right group Issui-kai.