The body of a 43 year old man was found hanging in the restroom of a Japanese koban, or small police station/box, in Mie Prefecture on March 20, in what investigators deemed a suicide case. It is believed the man had been dead at the Iga police box for three to four days before his body was discovered. The mysterious death has left many wondering why it took so long to be discovered, and why the police officers at the station rarely use the restroom.
Four Nabari police officers were assigned to the location in Iga in front of the Aoyamacho train station. The man was found collapsed on the floor with a rope around his neck, with the other end connected to a waist-high steel pipe. A lack of any external injuries has led to the conclusion that it must have been suicide. No one had seen the man enter the restroom, even with the door found immediately on the right of the police box’s entrance and viewable from the on-duty officer’s desk. The room was also locked from the outside when the body was discovered, which raised further questions. Some netizens suspect the man was murdered, saying “I don’t understand why he went to trouble of committing suicide in a police box,” while others raised the issue of police officers that “never have to go to the restroom.” Others still chose to speculate supernatural reasons.
According to the man’s family, he had been missing since March 16, with an official missing person’s report filed on March 17. Police also reported that the family had received a mailed letter from the man, suggesting his plan to commit suicide. Still baffling to the police is how he entered the police box unnoticed. The restroom where his body was found was intended for public use, as the station has four restrooms, two on the first floor and another two on the second floor. The first floor restroom had trouble in the past when homeless people would spend the night or drunks would vomit, which caused the officers to install a lock outside. As it has not been used much recently, cleaning was not needed. Police suspect the man picked the lock from the outside then closed it again from the inside, to commit suicide. As for the long delay before finding the body, officers say the temperature in the station is very cold, and the smell of decay was prevented from escaping outside of the restroom.
[via Japan Times]