A search of Mr. Shiraishi’s apartment on Monday uncovered a cooler containing two heads, then further examination revealed parts of seven more bodies, NHK reported, citing a Tokyo Metropolitan Police source it did not identify. NHK said the bodies were of eight women and one man.
Mr. Shiraishi moved into the apartment in the city of Zama, southwest of Tokyo in Kanagawa Prefecture, two months ago, the newspaper Mainichi Shimbun reported. Neighbors noticed an unusual odor soon after he moved in, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.
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On Tuesday, a crowd of reporters gathered around the suspect’s townhouse there, which the police had blocked off with yellow tape.
Grisly crimes are rare in Japan, which has one of the lowest murder rates in the world. In 2014, it recorded 0.3 intentional homicides per 100,000 people, compared with 4.4 for the United States, according to World Bank data.
Crime has been steadily declining in recent years, and the police have been accused of overstaffing investigations into minor infractions because they lack things to do.
Kanagawa Prefecture, with a population of nine million, has seen a handful of murder cases in recent years. In August, a man was arrested in connection with the murders of two Chinese sisters, 22 and 25, who worked in the city of Yokohama and whose bodies were found in suitcases in a rural area.
Last year, a man stabbed to death 19 people at a center for the disabled where he once worked, in the town of Sagamihara in Kanagawa Prefecture.