Monday, March 31, 2008

The Net's Closing In Around

In the case of the murdered taxicab driver (references begin here, et al) assertions today by the Yokosuka Police have made it much harder to believe in the innocence of the accused American sailor.

One report has the sailor calling an acquaintance from within Yokosuka just after the estimated time of the murder. According police, the sailor's words in that telephone conversation intimated that something bad had just happened to him.

The police have also claimed that the image of a person resembling the suspect was recorded by a Shinagawa security camera the night of the murder.

What this tells me is:

a) DNA tests and fingerprint dustings on the murder weapon and from the interior of the car have been inconclusive

b) there is pressure to lock down this case sooner rather than later.

These revelations, though not damning, are going to put extreme pressure on the U. S. Navy and the FBI to transfer the suspect to Japanese custody.

I would like to see a prosecutor convince a judge to issue an arrest warrant here first, before beating myself over the head for doubting the full guilt of the suspected murder.

Later - True to form, the Asahi Shimbun is swimming in the deepest end of the pool. While the other news agencies are claiming that the sailor in his mobile phone conversation "gave hints" or "gave indications" or "intimated" that he was involved in an incident, the headline of the top story of this evening's edition of the Asahi screams:

"The AWOL American Serviceman: 'I Stabbed Him!'"

I note with some sardony that in the article, the Asahi admits that its previous exclusive, that the serviceman claimed he was in a Dobuita drinking establishment at the time of the murder "has yet to be confirmed."

No kidding.

Still later - This is getting stupid.

The evening Asahi Shimbun claims that the serviceman told his acquaintance, "several things including 'I did it, unfortunately...' (yatte shimatta) and 'I stabbed him!' (sashita) and the like." Now the weekly tabloid magazine Shukan Gendai, always a paragon of probity, offers yet another version of today's police revelations, claiming that the serviceman said, "I did it, unfortunately..." (yachimatta) which the Shukan Gendai insists is supposed to be understood to mean, "I stabbed him."

[I file as a mental note for future reference the Shukan Gendai's use of a contraction and the Asahi's use of the formal phrase.]

It seems that nobody really knows anything.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun is hedging the most, noting that the source of today's revelations is not actually "the police," but "sources with connections to the investigation."

Which means...

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