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Osaka cops apologize to family of woman murdered by officer

Takashi Mizuuchi
Takashi Mizuuchi

YAMAGATA (TR) – Nearly two years after the murder of a woman by a member of the Osaka Prefectural Police, upper-level officers visited the home of the victim’s family in Yamagata Prefecture to offer an apology, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 19)

On Sunday, Shogo Okuno, the chief of the Osaka Prefectural Police, and two other officers bowed before Hiroyuki Shirata, 57, in offering an apology over the murder of his daughter, 23-year-old Hikaru, by a former head patrol officer from the Abeno Police Station.

“It is inexcusable that we have delayed our coming here when one of our officers snatched away a life that cannot be replaced,” Okuno said.

A written apology was submitted to the family in October.

In January of 2015, Takashi Mizuuchi, 28, strangled Hikaru with his belt at her residence in Higashi Sumiyoshi Ward.

Mizuuchi has been sentenced to an 18-year prison term in the case.

Mizuuchi and Hikaru, who was an employee at a hospital, became acquainted in Sendai in May of 2013, when the former officer was on a one-year assignment in Miyagi Prefecture.

Mizuuchi married another woman in August of 2014 but maintained his relationship with Shirata.

At the time of his arrest, Mizuuchi said that he and Shirata had gotten into a fight. “Then she became enraged and threatened to leak our relationship to my wife and supervisors,” he said. “So I strangled her with a belt.”

Regarding the timing of the verbal apology, there was no clarification from Okuno as to why it took place at the residence on Sunday, according to TV Asahi (Dec. 19).