Ichihashi bounty at ¥10 million

Kyodo News

The National Police Agency will raise the cash reward for information leading to the arrest of Tatsuya Ichihashi, the suspect in the slaying of Briton Lindsay Ann Hawker, from the current ¥1 million to ¥10 million, the agency said Friday.

Ichihashi, 30, who is on a nationwide wanted list, is suspected of killing Hawker, 22, in March 2007 and burying her in a tub of sand on the balcony of his apartment in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture. The NPA will accept information that could be rewarded with ¥10 million for one year from next Monday.

Police usually offer cash rewards of ¥1 million to ¥3 million for information leading to the arrest of suspects in serious crimes such as murder, kidnapping, rape and arson.

The agency said it is raising Ichihashi’s bounty because it has been widely reported and the increased sum could be effective in leading to his capture.

Hawker’s naked body was found by police in the sand-filled bathtub on Ichihashi’s apartment balcony on March 26, 2007.

Ichihashi managed to escape from the officers, who had called at his apartment after the language school Hawker worked for as an English teacher reported her missing.

The NPA decided to provide a cash reward for information on the Hawker case in June 2007, a month after it introduced the reward system across Japan. The agency has since designated rewards for 23 cases but has not made payments due to the lack of information that led to an arrest.