House was searched again last year…Shinichi Mitate, a suspect on the run, authorities reveal “what the latest investigation has revealed.” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

House was searched again last year…Shinichi Mitate, a suspect on the run, authorities reveal “what the latest investigation has revealed.”

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Wanted suspect Shinichi Mitate. He is said to be living in hiding in the Philippines. …… (PHOTO: from the Metropolitan Police Department website)

The most wanted criminals designated by the National Police Agency were arrested in late January and early February in rapid succession.’ Satoshi Kirishima, 70, who is believed to have been involved in a series of corporate bombings that took place between 1974 and 1975, and Sungyo Kim, 55, a designated gang leader who is believed to have shot and seriously injured a gang member in Nagano Prefecture in 2008. The arrest of Kim, in particular, has been widely touted as the “Kirishima effect” because he was listed to the left of Kirishima on a poster of the most wanted criminals created by the National Police Agency.

This reduced the number of most wanted criminals from 14 to 12. The suspect with the second highest bounty (up to 6 million yen), Shinichi Mitachi, 44, of the Kanto Rengo organization, fled abroad immediately after the incident. Investigators in the Philippines, where he was believed to have fled to, stated that they “went to the place where Mitachi was believed to be hiding several months ago,” and are still pursuing him more than 10 years after his escape.

The incident occurred in the early morning of September 2, ’12. Ryosuke Fujimoto, then 31, a restaurant manager, was drinking with his friends at a club in Roppongi, Tokyo, when he was attacked and beaten to death with a metal bat by more than a dozen men who arrived at the club in two separate vehicles. Moreover, they mistook him for the wrong man. The main suspect was Mitachi, who was the only one of the perpetrators who continued to flee the scene.

On September 9 of the same year, one week after the incident, Mitachi arrived at the Manila airport. His departure point was Beijing, the capital of China. Five days later, he went to Seoul, the capital of South Korea, and about two months later, in early November, he arrived in Manila, this time from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. Since then, no record of his departure from the Philippines has been confirmed.

Is he still hiding in the Philippines? A senior official of the Philippine Immigration Bureau said, “The suspect Mitate is in Colombo, Manila.

Two agents conducted a search at the scene after receiving information that Mitate was hiding out in a condominium in Manila.

The investigators went to the scene on October 25 last year. The condominium is located in the Malate area near Manila Bay.

The investigators explained the situation to the condominium’s manager and security personnel, and checked the names of all the Japanese residents. They also showed Mitachi’s photo, but were unable to confirm any information about his whereabouts.

However, there is a strong possibility that the suspect is using a false name. Furthermore, the Malate area is lined with Japanese restaurants, Filipino pubs, and hotels with casinos, and is an area that attracts many Japanese tourists. Although it seems unlikely that the suspect would dare to hide in such a highly visible area, Philippine investigators have searched for Mitate in this neighborhood in the past. There is also talk of “Cebu Island” as another hiding place, and information on the whereabouts of the suspect is mixed. A senior official of the Philippine Bureau of Investigation continued, “The suspect had undergone plastic surgery.

I have heard that the suspect has undergone plastic surgery, but I don’t know if it is true or not.

The long-established Cafe Adriatico in Malate. It’s one of those places you wouldn’t be surprised if you visited if you were in hiding.
The neon lights of casinos and Philippine pubs twinkle at night in Malate.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Metropolitan Police Department has listed Tokyo, Shizuoka, Saitama, and Miyagi prefectures as possible locations for the suspect Mitachi, saying that it is “quite possible that he has already returned to Japan and is hiding in the country.

The suspect’s passport was revoked in late January ’13 in accordance with a passport return order issued by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In other words, he is in the Philippines illegally. If he were to leave the Philippines by air, he would have to go to the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines and have a passport issued in another person’s name. Is such a “subterfuge” possible? A Japanese investigator asked, “When a passport is issued, it must be issued under someone else’s name.

When a passport is issued, various checks are conducted to detect impersonators. Therefore, it is impossible to issue a new passport while in Manila. It is even more impossible if the suspect is as well known as Mitate.

It is possible, however, to obtain a passport in the name of a Filipino citizen with Mitate’s photo printed on it and travel with it. However, a birth certificate of the holder of the passport is required, and the presence of a Filipino who is willing to cooperate in this process is indispensable.

Is it really possible for Mr. Mitachi to do so? The investigation is still ongoing in the Philippines.

  • Interview, text, PHOTO Takehide Mizutani

    Born in Mie Prefecture in 1975. He won the 9th Ken Kaiko Nonfiction Award for his book "Men Who Left Japan Behind: Impoverished Japanese Living in the Philippines. His latest book is "Reporto: International Romance Fraud. He has covered the war in Ukraine and other conflicts around the world.

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