Photo/Illutration The body of a female junior high school student was found on Sept. 29 near this part of the Sagamigawa river in Kanagawa Prefecture. (Seiya Hara)

YOKOHAMA--A construction-related company worker suspected of abducting a junior high school student was rearrested on Oct. 17 in connection with her suicide in a mountainous area in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Yuya Nozaki, 28, who resides in Saitama city, has admitted to helping the girl kill herself, according to Kanagawa prefectural police.

“I got to know (the student) after seeing her post (on social media) about her wish to commit suicide,” police quoted Nozaki as saying. “I took the junior high school student to (the mountainous area) and dropped her off there.”

The girl’s body was found in a river in Sagamihara on Sept. 29. Police said they believe the student, who lived in Yokohama, committed suicide around Sept. 23. An autopsy was conducted, but the cause of death is unknown.

According to prefectural police, Nozaki and the student became acquainted online after the girl indicated she wanted to die.

The student’s mother on Sept. 20 reported to police that her daughter was missing.

After finding out that Nozaki had taken the student to Sagamihara by car, police on Sept. 27 arrested him on suspicion of abducting a minor.

The student’s parents released a statement on Oct. 17 through a lawyer saying: “We are so heartbroken with the sudden death of our beloved daughter that we can’t think about anything at the moment. Although we are angry at the offender, we can’t express our emotions in words very well. All we can do now is collect our thoughts.”

Japan has recently seen a number of cases of adult males helping young people commit suicide after meeting them online.

In November last year, the Kobe District Court handed a prison sentence to a man in his 20s who had helped a female junior high school student commit suicide.

After the girl indicated her desire to die in a social media post, the man replied, “I will help you.”

The Hamamatsu branch of the Shizuoka District Court, also in November last year, gave a man in his 30s a suspended sentence for assisting in the suicide of a female junior high school student and other charges.

In one notorious case in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Takahiro Shiraishi killed nine people, aged 15 to 26, at his apartment in the city in 2017, and dismembered their bodies.

He met most of the victims on social media after they expressed their wishes to commit suicide.

Shiraishi’s death sentence was finalized in 2021.

(This article was written by Eiichiro Nakamura, Seiya Hara and Junji Murakami.)