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Mystery surrounds death of wealthy woman in Shimbashi

Values for properties near 'MacArthur Road' have been surging in recent years
Values for properties near ‘MacArthur Road’ have been surging in recent years (YouTube)

On October 19, the partially skeletal corpse of Reiko Takahashi, 60, was found between two buildings just to the west of the so-called “MacArthur Road,” which runs through the Shimbashi area of Minato Ward.

The location of the discovery is land occupying the residence of Takahashi, who was reported missing to police by an acquaintance in March.

According to Nikkan Gendai (Oct. 22), recent transactions within real estate holdings of Takahashi, who was known in the area equally for her wealth and odd behavior, have raised questions about whether her death was an accident.

Before last year, Takahashi owned two plots of land, one measuring a 183 square meters and another slightly smaller parcel located about a five-minute walk away.

An investigator tells the paper that the recent surge in land prices in the area, which at one end includes the two-year-old Toranomon Hills complex, has resulted in developers willing to pay 20 million yen per tsubo, a unit of measurement converting to 3.3 square meters. “Her fortune could be worth something in the neighborhood of two billion yen,” the source says.

Suspicious activity within the holdings began in April of last year after the registered address for Takahashi as changed to Ota Ward. Six different companies subsequently took ownership of the smaller of Takahashi’s properties over a three-month period, with two of the transactions taking place in a single day.

“(Such activity) has all the hallmarks of professional fraudsters who deal in land,” says the aforementioned investigator.

The current owner of the property is NTT Urban Development Corporation, a real estate services company whose motto is “Integrity and Innovation.” A representative from the public relations division of the company told Gendai that the purchase was done with a trading partner in a manner considered normal. “It is difficult to ascertain what exactly what buying and selling took place previously,” the person said.

After Takahashi was reported missing, police searched the property where she was found in April and August. “Her corpse was discovered lying face-down in a 45-centimeter-wide gap between buildings,” the investigator says. “The residence did not appear to have been searched through, and her body did not exhibit any external wounds.”

Just prior to Takahashi’s disappearance, police had taken her into protective custody after she began causing a disturbance while drunk. According to the manager of a nearby restaurant, Takahashi began struggling with alcohol about 15 years ago, following the death of her mother.

“There was a sense that she had become mentally unstable,” the manager says. “By noon, she would already have started drinking. With lips covered in heavy red lipstick, she had a moody, hard-to-please demeanor that made her hard to approach.”

The manager went on to say that after Takahashi went missing a suspicious-looking man frequently visited her residence.

Source: “Shinbashi 20 shisanka josei to fukakaina tochi baibai,” Nikkan Gendai (Oct. 22)