Press "Enter" to skip to content

Japan and China may be nearing resolution in Hyogo corpse-dismemberment case

in Itami City
Body parts were found in a riverbed in Itami City in 2016 (Twitter)

HYOGO (TR) – As a part of the investigation into human remains discovered in a river in Itami City two years ago, Hyogo Prefectural Police are seeking the cooperation of authorities in China in apprehending a Chinese national suspected in the case,

Thus far, the endeavor has proven to be futile, largely due to China and Japan not maintaining an extradition treaty with one another. But, reports the Sankei Shmimbun (May 16), the Japan side may be relinquishing its request.

On October 10 and 11, 2016, various body parts of a man, including a head, torso, two arms and two legs, were found in some soil and bushes nearby of the riverbed of the Ina River beneath a bridge.

According to police, the arms had been cut at the elbow. The legs, whose feet were wearing black socks, had been severed at the knee.

Police later identified the corpse as belonging to a 20-year-old Chinese exchange student, who at the time  was living at an apartment in Abeno Ward, Osaka City.

The Chinese national wanted in the case became acquainted with the victim in Japan. According to police, the suspect killed the victim at the residence sometime in late September or early October and dumped the severed remains at the riverbed.

The suspect left Japan for China after the incident. Police have obtained a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of murder and abandoning a corpse.

On May 18, authorities from China and Hyogo police visited the site of the discovery of the remains and the apartment.

No extradition treaty

The visit appears to have been a concession on the part of law enforcement in Japan. In the month following the incident, Hyogo police sought the help of authorities in China through the international police organization Interpol in lieu of an extradition treaty. Thereafter, investigative materials were exchanged between the two countries.

However, China then pushed for the suspect to be accused under domestic law as dictated through a foreign criminal provision. As a result, Chinese officials requested on numerous occasions to visit the site of the discovery. However, the Japan side balked at the request until this month.

The inspection in May followed the Japan-China-Korea Trilateral Summit in Tokyo. “[Li Keqiang’s visit] is the first by a Chinese premier to Japan in seven years,” an official was quoted by the Sankei. “I suppose that the desire to stabilize bilateral relations are turning the wheels of the legal system.”