In Brief

Japanese police investigating mass murder at tourist hotspot

Six bodies discovered alongside bloody machete at family home, while seventh corpse found in nearby river

Police in Japan are investigating an apparent mass killing of a family at a home near a popular tourist hotspot.

Six bodies were found at the property in Miyazaki province, close to the scenic Takachiho Gorge. A seventh corpse discovered around two miles away beneath a bridge is also thought to have been connected to the incident.

Concerned relatives raised the alarm yesterday after they were unable to contact the family, The Japan Times reports.

Officers arrived at the family home owned by 72-year-old Yasuo Iihoshi and his wife Mihoko, 66, to find the couple dead, along with their 41-year-old daughter-in-law Mikiko, grandchildren Takumi, 21, and Yui, 7, and 44-year-old family friend Fumiaki Matsuoka.

“Some of the bodies had knife wounds and a bloodstained machete was found at the site,” The Mainichi reports.

The seventh body, retrieved from the nearby Gokasegawa river, is believed to be that of their 42-year-old son, Masahiro Iihoshi.

Police are investigating the incident as a potential murder-suicide, and say they believe that “family trouble” was the trigger for the massacre.

Family friend Matsuoka had told his father that he was going to to the Iihoshi residence to “mediate” an unspecified conflict on Sunday, but did not return. His father contacted police yesterday, as did a relative of the Iihoshi family whose calls to the house went unanswered.

The gruesome crime has become headline news in Japan, which “ranks as one of the safest countries in the world to live, has a very low murder rate and mass killings are rare”, says CNN.

“I still can't believe this has happened,” a local man told The Mainichi. “I want to know the truth behind it.”

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