Each week, here at Osaka.com, we bring you a selection of some of the top stories about Osaka making the local and national news here in Japan. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s funny, but it’s always direct to you, from Osaka.
Here’s a look at some of the stories hitting the headlines in Osaka this week.
Table of Contents
Car Kills Child in Korea Town Tragedy
Tragedy struck Osaka’s Ikuno Ward this week, when a car struck a one-year old child. Police confirmed the victim’s identity as Mei Nakayama, from Nagoya. She had been shopping in Ikuno Ward with several family members when the car hit them. Under Ikuno Ward’s traffic regulations, at the time of the incident, around 11.40 am on August 1st, the area should be a no car zone.
The driver of the car involved in the collision fled the scene. However, the victim’s mother noted the license plate number and a description of the car. Police arrested the owner of the car, Yoshikazu Koshiro, a short time later. He initially denied any involvement in the incident.
However, upon seeing the irrefutable evidence linking his car to the scene, he changed his story. Instead, Koshiro, 74, said he “did not see the child” at the time of the accident. So, he didn’t realize his car had hit her. He also explained the reason he fled the scene. He claimed he did so because the registration and insurance for his car expired. Police arrested Koshiro and are treating the incident as a “hit and run”.
“Car Crash Like Injuries” Sustained at Water Slide
A water slide in Sakai City looks set for a redesign after injuring 4 people recently.
The slide, located at Sakai’s municipal swimming pool, injured 4 people after they slid down it too fast. One victim likened the cuts and bruises received to “being in a car accident”. The problem with the slide appears to lie with one specific high speed corner. In response, officials announced plans to alter the surface of the slide. They hope that by slowing the speed of the ride, they can prevent any further accidents in the future.
The slide closed on July 10th after the final of the four reported accidents. Officials concluded their initial investigations this week and announced changes to the slide. A smaller slide at the venue remains in use. No accidents were reported there over the same period.
Osaka Police Confirm Scammer Arrested in Ghana
After an international manhunt, Osaka Prefectural Police confirmed the arrest of the suspected leader of a romance scam this week. The suspect, Hikaru Morikawa, was arrested in Ghana alongside several other accomplices.
Police believe he has strong links with Ghanian organized crime. The scam involved swindling vulnerable Japanese singles out of large sums of money, with the promise of international marriage.
So far, police revealed that the gang swindled two male victims for a total of 1.5 million yen. However investigations continue into several more instances of alleged fraud.
The scam involved Morikawa and his associates posing as foreign women to lure Japanese men into sending them money in the form of “living expenses” and “package shipping fees”. Though such schemes are fairly common on online dating sites, Osaka police said it was unusual to find one so elaborate and involving such a large group of people.
The investigation continues. Morikawa remains detained in Accra, the capital of Ghana, on charges of staying in the country illegally. The most likely next step is his deportation back to Japan. From there, Osaka Police can formally arrest him and press charges. At the moment it remains unclear how long this process will take.
There was joy for two of Osaka’s best known sportspeople this week.
Naomi Osaka, made a return to winning ways in the first round of San Jose’s Silicon Valley classic. Her 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 win over China’s Zheng Qinwen was Osaka’s first match since May. A string of injuries have hobbled Osaka’s attempts to return to the form that saw her claim the world number one spot a couple of years ago. The confidence boosting win will, her supporters hope, lead to a resurgence in her overall career.
Meanwhile, another of Osaka’s sporting exports, former Gamba Osaka academy soccer star Ritsu Doan, made an immediate impact with his new club. The 24 year old winger recently joined German side Freiburg after leaving PSV Eindhoven. His first match last weekend was a German Cup first round tie against Kaiserslautern. Doan proved the hero as his 111th minute free kick saw Freiburg secure a 2-1 win after extra time. With the World Cup just a few months away, he could hardly have chosen a better time to find his form!
That’s all for now but be sure to check back again same time next week for another round of This Week in Osaka!