OSAKA (TR) – Shiga Prefectural Police have arrested a group of five male and female persons over the beating and confinement of a man who died earlier this year.
Over a three-day period beginning on August 12, Akihiro Watanabe, 31, was beaten, confined and deprived of food by Sho Itsubo, 29, Shinichi Hagiwara, 39, and the three other suspects at Itsubo’s residence in Sakai Ward of Sakai City, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (Dec. 8).
Over the course of the incarceration, Watanabe did not receive medical attention. On August 15, the victim was moved to a residence belonging to Hagiwara in Omihachiman City, Shiga Prefecture. That same day, he was confirmed dead due to pneumonia caused by bacteria.
Police initially viewed that Watanabe died due to natural causes. However, the emergency team that arrived at the residence to treat Watanabe recommended that an autopsy be conducted on the body of Watanabe. According to Mainichi Broadcasting System (Dec. 12), the results of the examination showed that the exterior of the body had received severe blunt trauma in a number of locations.
Suspicions were also raised considering that the elderly are more susceptible to pneumonia than young persons. After an investigation was launched, the names of the five suspects surfaced.
On November 16, police first arrested Hagiwara and two other persons for assaulting Watanabe in the head with a drainage grating on a road in Osaka’s Sumiyoshi Ward in the early morning hours of July 16.
Also on November 16, investigators moved on to the residence of Itsubo, where a separate beating incident was ongoing. Itsubo was arrested the following day on suspicion of confinement. The life of the victim was saved, police said.
A neighbor told the Mainichi that three men and women live at Itsubo’s residence. The source added that several other young persons could always be seen coming and going.
On December 7, police accused the five suspects of murder and confinement in the death of Watanabe. None of the suspects has commented on the allegations, police said.
Astuki Muay Thai Gym
The investigation then took a turn toward Atsuki Sakamoto, the 39-year-old manager of Astuki Muay Thai Gym, located in Nishi Ward of Sakai, according to the Sankei Shimbun (Dec. 10). At around 11:00 p.m. on January 5, Sakamoto allegedly forced Watanabe to drink excrement from a PET bottle.
“Chug it at once,” Sakamoto reportedly ordered him. “Savor it. Now, drink another.”
According to police, Itsubo and Watanabe are members of the gym. Thus far, Sakaoto has been accused of coercion. However, he is believed to have also participated in the beating that led to the death of Watanabe.