Ex-top Japan’s farm ministry official says Kawasaki attack prompted his murder of son

Hideaki Kumazawa is escorted by police as he is taken to prosecutors in Nerima Ward, Tokyo, on Monday. Photo: KYODO. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TOKYO, Jun 3, 2019, Kyodo. A former top bureaucrat of the farm ministry arrested on the weekend over the murder of his son has told investigators the mass stabbing in Kawasaki near Tokyo last week prompted the killing, investigative sources said Monday, reported the Japan Today.

Hideaki Kumazawa, 76, told investigators that he “thought my son might harm others” after finding out about the stabbing rampage last Tuesday in which a man said to have become a social recluse allegedly killed two and injured more than a dozen others before taking his own life, according to the sources.

Kumazawa was quoted as saying his 44-year-old son Eiichiro “tended to be withdrawn from social life and exhibited violent behavior” toward him and his wife, the sources said.

A note believed to have been left by Kumazawa, also a former Japanese ambassador to the Czech Republic, was found at his home suggesting his murderous intent. His son was found with a dozen wounds concentrated in his upper body including chest and abdomen.

Kumazawa was arrested Saturday and sent to prosecutors on Monday on suspicion of murder.

According to the sources, Eiichiro had been living elsewhere in Tokyo for more than 10 years until returning to his parents’ home in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward in late May at his own request.

While Eiichiro was living apart from his parents, he was seen having a quarrel with neighbors over ways to take out garbage.

The former bureaucrat also told investigators that he felt his life was in danger, prompting the police to suspect there was a long-standing feud within the family, the sources said.

The two had a verbal dispute several hours before the incident, when Eiichiro became angry over noise from an athletic meet at an elementary school nearby, the sources said.

Police suspect he was worried, after learning of the Kawasaki attack, that his son would harm children at the school. He was also quoted as saying he was worried his neighbors might be in danger from his son.

The incident took place at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday before Kumazawa called the police and said he had stabbed his son to death. Eiichiro was found collapsed on a futon and confirmed dead after being taken to a hospital.

There was a large amount of blood on the futon and a kitchen knife was left nearby.

The assailant in the knife attack Tuesday in Kawasaki is said to have hardly left his home where he was living with his uncle and aunt in their 80s.

The suspect, 51-year-old Ryuichi Iwasaki, committed suicide shortly after he attacked a group of Caritas Elementary School students and parents around 7:40 a.m. with 30-centimeter-long knives in each hand.

Kumazawa joined the predecessor of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1967, and became the ministry’s top bureaucrat in 2001.

He stepped down the following year amid criticism of the ministry’s handling of a mad cow disease outbreak. He served as Japan’s ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2005 to 2008.

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