Wednesday, March 28, 2007

British Woman Murdered

The police are searching for the suspected murderer in the death of 22 year old English teacher, Lindsay Ann Hawker.

The late-night news dedicated nearly 5 minutes of their program on Tuesday to discussion of the details of the crime, but what is surprising is that the body was allegedly discovered by police on Monday night.

The delay in reporting on this case, especially by the print media (Kyodo, to its credit, has a couple of items on its website that were posted on Tuesday), is a little strange. This story has not been deemed front page material by most news outlets.

As for the big English-language newspapers in Japan, the Yomiuri and Japan Times still haven't filed a story related to the alleged murder. Meanwhile, the Asahi lists ramen shops, flu shots, and possible landslides as being more news-worthy (one must click past the front-page headlines to reach the article linked to below).

I think most people would agree that if a non-Japanese woman or man was suspected of killing a Japanese, then the story would receive much more attention.

This case is reminding people of what is commonly thought to be impossible: that a foreign resident of Japan can actually be the victim of a crime. Up until now (1pm Wednesday), reporting has reflected that common stereotype.

Hopefully we will have a more complete account of what happened once they nab the guy who is the prime suspect.

And on a side note, how did the police lose the suspect even when they were in the guy's apartment to begin with? Kyodo reported that he escaped from the officers barefoot!

Update 1: [Wednesday March 28th] The Japanese version of the Yomiuri Newspaper posted a brief article on its website at 2:37 this afternoon. It seems that the best place to get a detailed report on this crime is the international media (BBC).

Note: the suspect's name is Ichihashi, not Ichihachi as claimed in the BBC piece.

Update 2: The Japanese version of the Asahi Newspaper covers the same information revealed in the international press in an article posted at 3:17pm today (Tokyo time).

Update 3: Lindsay's father and boyfriend landed in Japan today and have since given a press conference pleading for information regarding the whereabouts of Ichihashi. The nightly news dedicated the first 10 minutes of the broadcast to the murder.

Update 4: [Thursday March 29th] All of the major news outlets have finally come around. It is now Thursday morning, and most papers are carrying articles (Japan Times) that detail yesterday's press conference. Everyone seems to be coming around to what Lindsay Hawker's family has asserted all along--that she had only known the suspect for a short time and was not dating him. The suspected murderer, Tatsuya Ichihashi, has still not been found.

Update 5: Forensic specialists have determined that Lindsay was bound with gardening wire and then strangled. It seems likely (although this is unconfirmed) that the severe beating she suffered preceded her being tied up.

Update 6: [Friday March 30th] The Yomiuri newspaper (Japanese) detailed some of the things that the suspect, Ichihashi Tatsuya, bought at a hardware store before police figured out where he lived. The Asahi (Japanese) talks a little bit about the chronology of events leading up to Hawker's death. The Mainichi (English) ran a story alleging that Ichihashi kept her tied up in his apartment for a while before killing her.

Updates 7 and 8
Update 9
Update 10
Update 11

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