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Tokyo police: Literary critic Susumu Nishibe may have had help in committing suicide

Literary critic Susumu Nishibe
Literary critic Susumu Nishibe

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police suspect that literary critic Susumu Nishibe had assistance in taking his life earlier this year by plunging into the Tama River, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Mar. 15).

On the morning of January 21, the 48-year-old son of Nishibe alerted emergency services, saying his father jumped into the river in the Denenchofu area of Ota Ward.

Personnel arriving at the scene found a body in the river. The man, later identified as Nishibe, was confirmed dead at a hospital about two hours later. The cause of death is believed to have been drowning.

With a will found on the riverbank, the Denenchofu Police Station believes Nishibe intentionally took his life by jumping into the river.

In the latest development, police on Wednesday revealed that Nishibe 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 believe someone assisted the critic in taking his life.

Native of Hokkaido

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.

Police are continuing the investigation into the death of Nishibe on suspicion of assisted suicide.