Ichihashi Tatsuya, suspect in Hawker murder, according to NPA has new face after plastic surgery


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Hi Blog.  In probably one of the most embarrassing criminal investigation bungles in recent memory, the prime suspect in the Lindsay Ann Hawker murder case, Ichihashi Tatsuya, is still at large after closing in on three years since he gave the slip to cops who knocked on his apartment door.

Recent reports are that he has probably had cosmetic surgery and has a new face.  Here are the mug shots.


Fuller reports courtesy of Black Tokyo and Japan Probe here, with some TV news reportage:



What gets me is that he can’t be on the lam this long without some sort of financial support.  Rumors abound (from temporary work in construction to doing tricks for the gay community; all apocryphal), but his family denies that they are supporting him.  I find that especially hard to believe now that he’s undergone very expensive cosmetic surgery.

Like Ichihashi, keep your eyes peeled, everyone.  Let’s get this suspect in jug where he can answer a battery of questions about his whereabouts and motives for the past few years.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

39 comments on “Ichihashi Tatsuya, suspect in Hawker murder, according to NPA has new face after plastic surgery

  • Anyone understand why the cops haven’t released this dude’s alias yet? If he’s changing his appearance, shouldn’t his nom de fugitive be made public?

  • I read this in the Asahi and thought April Fool’s had come 7 months early. Tell me if I’m being naive here, but how could one of the most wanted men in Japan (I forget exactly what the bounty is) get a complicated cosmetic medical procedure with no one realising who he was and handing him over to the police? Surely he had to fill in a number of forms identifying himself, and it’s not like the surgeon only caught a glimpse of him.

    I’m just lost for words.

  • It’s a shame that this individual has been free for so long. It is quite an embarrassment for the Japanese police.
    The family of the young lady must be in agony that this fella hasn’t been taken in yet. An aside, though. What kind of fear
    must be racing through the perpetrator’s mind? What about the hospital that took him in? What were they thinking?

  • This is just bizarre. If he’s getting this kind of money, it’s simply pathetic that the police have not been able to apprehend him. I don’t know what kind of budget they have, but round the clock stakeouts around all those who might have the ability to support him would probably have him turning up at one of their doorsteps sooner or later. I mean just how hard could it be the catch him?

    Sadly, I guess the family of the victim doesn’t have that much money, otherwise I would guess a costly private agency would actually do a better job than the police. It’s not like this guy is some kind of professional spy or covert op. He’s got to be making one mistake after another. Are police just that inept in Japan?

  • Talking about police incompetence, Well, they just let him run away in front of their noses before, bare footed and almost undressed, and they said that it happened because the guy was a “good runner” (LOL)!! so, what can you expect anyway?.

  • Where did the second shot come from? How was it obtained? It’s not an artist’s rendition of someone’s idea of what his surgery could look like, so who produced it? Is that (screaming) question addressed in any of the original news articles?

    — According to TV news reports, it was a photograph taken at the plastic surgery clinic. He apparently also had facial hair, so that was identikitted out.

  • OK, thanks. After scrambling through related links, in addition to the ones you provided, I suppose we are to assume that the plastic surgeon (or someone within the office) made the connection only after the procedure was completed. That seems at best unfortunate. But what of his health insurance card? Are we to assume he had brought a false one with him?

    — Plastic surgery generally doesn’t qualify for health insurance. And as TV show Bankisha discussed last night, there’s quite an underground system for these sorts of procedures.

  • Aji No Tokei Dai says:

    I have not followed much beyond what I have seen on TV news, but it seems that nobody is even raising the question of where he is getting money to support himself. That seems odd. His parents would be the obvious first place to look. Is the media not allowed to even speculate about this topic because of ‘privacy’ laws, or have I just missed it being raised in the media?

    — You just missed it.

  • According to the Yahoo news site it appears that he is now going by the name of Inoue Kousuke – or should I say “was”, as he will probably change his name again now that this information has been given out.

  • Is it not legal here to just get his parents’ phone records, any computers they might have, cell phone transmission and text messages, bank account activity etc? I really find it hard to believe that if they got everything they could get from his family, there would be SOMETHING to at least indicate that they were helping him. Did I mishear/misunderstand this, or is his FATHER a plastic surgeon or has some kind of connection to that industry? I believe they said something like that on the news…. I don’t know how much proof they need to get a warrant though.

    And there was a plastic surgeon on TV saying that (at his clinic, which is not the one Ishihashi used) they don’t ask for insurance cards as it’s elective surgery and it’s entirely up to the patient to provide correct contact information, or not, as they see fit.

  • Andrew Smallacombe says:

    With a reward of ¥10000000 for information leading to Ichihashi’s arrest, I cant’t help but think that at least one plastic surgery clinic has short-changed themselves.

  • It’s matter time now for him to get caught now, However let me explain some culture and cosmetic practice system in Japan, [overgeneralizations about Japan and gaijin handling deleted]

    What the Japanese medical system need an APB system with police real time update system since this country so good at high tech make some use of it, Yes the Medical facility do have obligation to report gun / knife wounds to the police [more gaijin handling deleted]

    I think they will learn from this case and mandate some type of system for cosmedical service providers, I hear they would need to send the application with photo and proper register address plus ID to an agency before any doctor can start any cosmedical surgery.

  • Doesn’t anyone find it ironic that this guy has been hiding out in the same day laborer/haken employment system that is one of the key issues facing this society currently? Not only does it abuse workers, but apparently, it’s a good place for fugitives to hide. Any bets as to many wanted fugitives are being put up by companies who hire on a work-for-hire basis?

    And I am with Kimberly in the inquiry as to why the police here seem to be unable to search or keep surveillance on a suspect’s family and contacts. It’s now apparent that Ichihashi already had some cosmetic surgery prior to working for the construction company mentioned in the article linked by Konokuri. It is looking more and more likely that he turned to someone for help at the outset. Find those people and prosecute them for aiding and abetting a fugitive; that goes for all these plastic surgery places as well!

  • Now we see that the reason for the “high” rate of crimes by foreigners is that the Japanese police can only catch people who stand out, don’t speak Japanese and don’t have people covering for them. Hmmm.

  • Latest gem from Yahoo news. Yokohama guide book found in the dormitory room where he stayed. Guess that’s one place they don’t need to bother looking for him. Unless, he is engaging in a bit of reverse psychology….Putting all this news out is probably helping him more than it is the people who are after arresting him.

  • Maybe they just picked him up in Osaka.


    Suspect in Hawker murder arrested

    Lindsay Ann Hawker’s body was found in a bathtub filled with sand
    The only suspect in the murder of British teacher Lindsay Hawker has been arrested by police in Japan, the Foreign Office has confirmed.
    Tatsuya Ichihashi, 30, is being held in police custody in Osaka.
    Miss Hawker, 22, from Brandon, near Coventry, was found buried in a sand-filled bath at the suspect’s Tokyo flat in March 2007.
    Earlier Mr Ichihashi’s mother had appeared on television urging her son to turn himself in to police.
    ‘Grateful for efforts’
    A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We are glad and relieved that the only suspect in this case, Tatsuya Ichihashi, has been found and is now in police custody.
    “We are grateful to the Japanese police for their efforts and we remain in close contact with the Hawker family.”
    A spokesman for the Osaka Prefectural Police said: “We have detained a person in Osaka city who appears to be the suspect in the murder.”
    Miss Hawker was teaching English in Japan when she went missing on 25 March, 2007. Her body was discovered on the balcony of Mr Ichihashi’s flat.
    Mr Ichihashi is thought to have recently had plastic surgery to change his appearance.

  • Arrested:

    市橋容疑者を大阪で逮捕 南港で「似た男」の通報




  • Mark, it should be “good job janitor guy at the ferry terminal” who bothered to notice a strange person waiting for the ferry to Okinawa bearing a resemblance to Ichihashi and reported it. If this person had not, he might be on his way out of the country by now.

    Sadly, the torture for Linday’s family is about to hit the next stage. The clown courts of Japan. Remember, he is still only arrested for abandoning her body. If they can’t get enough evidence to prosecute for murder, or if Ichihashi starts playing the “woe-is-me” card, good bet is he is not going to be sentenced to death. And without a life sentence here, he’ll get away with the proverbial slap on the wrist. This is only the beginning….

    — The DPJ is disinclined towards the death penalty. So if he gets Life, and if other court cases are any guide, he could be out on parole in, say, 24 years.

  • The press is having a field day with this. Reporters on the shinkansen going nuts, live reports from the train, his parents have even decided to show their faces to the press, and her parents are going to be hounded by reporters from two different countries.

  • The scenes of Ichihashi (or similar suspects) being pushed through a throng of reporters seem to serve some kind of surreptitious dramatic function. Can’t the police cordon off a space from the train to the waiting vehicle? If not only for the safety of the suspect? There’s some dynamic between the press and the police here that I don’t quite understand.

  • @Jjobseeker
    Ichihashi won’t get the death sentence for one murder, they only hand it down when there is more than one victim.
    The worst case scenario is he denies killing Lindsay and he only gets jail time for abandoning a body. The weak point in the Japanese legal system is the reliance on conviction by confession, which favours hardened criminals who know if they can resist the interrogation they will go free.

  • Debito,
    So there is a Life Sentence here?? In my discussions with (Japanese) family and friends, no one is aware of a life sentence in Japan, or at least one that seems tangible enough for the general populace to acknowledge. It made sense to me since so many heinous murder cases go “unpunished” commensurate with the crime here (e.g. all the recent cases where the victim was cut to pieces, the young man who murdered a woman and child and was let off thanks to a group of anti-death penalty lawyers, etc.). When mitigating circumstances make the Death Penalty an improbability, a Life Sentence never seems to be handed down. If the option exists, it seems to be rarely exercised. Is there an explanation for this?

  • It is unfortunate that one of the results of Ichihashi will be some self-congratulations on the part of National Police Agency. They clearly dropped the ball here. Had it not be for the lengths that Hawker family was willing to go for his capture, it is very likely that he would still be at large or even worst the police would have coerced someone else into confessing just to done with the matter.

  • Quoting:
    good write up (in Japanese) about what he was doing as a day laborer for the past year. Quotes from his workmates etc


    Are they trying to portray this monster as a responsible human being? being sympathetic to him because the victim was a foreign girl? why not? Well, yeah sure, he is a nice, hard working guy…when he is not out there killing.

  • Have you guys heard about how some people think this guy is kakkoii and even has some kind of fan Web site?

    — Links please.

  • I think this Mixi group is what Bendrix is talking about:

    Ichihashi Tatsuya Support Fanclub
    頑張れ市橋達也応援ファンクラブ (686) (芸能人、有名人)

    You’ll need a Mixi account to access, though. (It’s a SNS you can only join by invitation from a friend.)


    They basically believe “handsome Ichihashi” is innocent.

  • jjobseeker,
    刑法 Penal code
    第百九十九条  人を殺した者は、死刑又は無期若しくは五年以上の懲役に処する。
    Article 199 A person who kills another shall be punished by the death penalty or imprisonment with work for life or for definite term of not less than 5 years.

    Every Japanese, whom I know, knows the penalty of life imprisonment or mukichoueki. Parole may be granted but most of the inmates die in prison.

    This is a link to a webpage by an amateur criminologist who lists reported life imprisonments sentenced in this year. There are quite a lot of them.


  • http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/crime/091113/crm0911130746005-n1.htm

    The company that called the police after noticing that their temporary employee looked like Ichihashi is now being refused business from its partners and customers. Apparently they “cannot do business with a company that does not do a background check for their employees.”

    Great, so not only is there going to be more difficult to get any kind of employment, but people will become less reluctant to call the police when someone around you is a criminal. Can’t anyone give them credit for stepping up and doing the right thing?

    【市橋容疑者逮捕】通報の建設会社で契約解除相次ぐ 「社員の身元もきちんと調べない会社とは…」
    2009.11.13 07:43


  • im getting the horrible feeling that he as long as he keeps his gob shut he may get away with a more minor punishment here.it seems they are lacking evidence

    basing convictions on forcing confessions rather than doing proper policework seems a strange way to carry on

  • Andrew Smallacombe says:

    I see that Ichihashi’s group of lawyers (I bet the average arrestee would like one of those) is unhappy with the way he is being questioned. (“Your parents should die” etc)
    I’m wondering if the police haven’t botched the case in terms of collecting evidence, and are desperate for a confession.

    Poor Ichihashi. He doesn’t like the injections that keep him functioning during his hunger strike (Too bad we don’t have truth drugs, eh?)
    He doesn’t want his parents involved (But I’m sure they can recommend a good plastic surgeon)
    He would a bath (Would you like it full of SAND?)

    I fear that if he can shut up for another 11 days, he’ll just get the abandoning a body charge.


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