Osaka police nab 'Heisei Ninja' suspected in 250 burglaries
tokyoreporter.com -- Oct 21
Dressed entirely in black and quick on his feet, he eluded Osaka's finest for nearly a decade. And then, to their surprise, they discovered upon his arrest that he is an elderly man.

In July, Osaka Prefectural Police arrested Mitsuaki Tanigawa, a 74-year-old residence of Osaka's Chuo Ward, who is suspected in more than 200 burglaries in eastern Osaka Prefecture, according to the Sankei Shimbun (Oct. 19).

Between March of 2009 and July of this year, Tanigawa is believed to have broken into shops and residences in 254 cases in and around Higashi-Osaka City in which the value of lost property totals 29.4 million yen.

The suspect told the Kawachi Police Station, which sent him to prosecutors on Thursday, that he committed the crimes to cover living expenses. "I thought that I would never get caught," the suspect was quoted.

Conscious of security cameras

Over the course of the investigation, he became known as the "Heisei Ninja" in law enforcement circles.

Prior to carrying out each of the crimes, Tanigawa would commute by train from Osaka to two abandoned residences in Higashi-Osaka where he would change out of his street clothes and into an all-black outfit. At night, he would then venture out.

Tanigawa was conscious of security cameras, always ensuring that he was not caught on tape, according to police. However, he did appear on a street in footage this spring, when he was shown to have his face covered by a black neck warmer.

Police marveled at his athletic ability. In gaining access to an electrical goods store in Higashi-Osaka, the suspect navigated through a narrow gap between buildings and scaled a wall. He then unfastened a window and crept inside before allegedly stealing 27,000 yen in cash.

"Not that of an elderly person"

"His agility was not that of an elderly person," said one officer, who witnessed the suspect slipping through a space 15 centimeters wide.

Police discovered one of Tanigawa's hideouts in Highashi-Osaka in July. He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of theft and trespassing.

"I don't want to work," the suspect told police, according to Fuji News Network (Oct. 19). "Theft is quicker."

捜査員の間で「忍者」と呼ばれ、店などに侵入して窃盗を繰り返した男が逮捕されました。 深夜、路上にたたずむ全身黒尽くめの男。警察が公開した容疑者の写真です。男は店の脇にある細い通路を進み、高い塀に軽々よじ登り、奥の窓から侵入しました。
News sources: tokyoreporter.com, ANNnewsCH
Oct 17
Police in Hiroshima, western Japan, are investigating graffiti found at 3 places in the Peace Memorial Park. The park is home to the landmark Atomic Bomb Dome, which was damaged in the 1945 bombing. (NHK)
Oct 17
The number of foreign visitors to Japan has dropped for the first time in more than 5 years as natural disasters prompted many tourists to cancel trips in September. (NHK)
Oct 17
A Tokyo court has begun questioning 3 former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company about their involvement in the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. (NHK)
Oct 17
Tokyo police arrested on Tuesday some members of a fraud group for allegedly attempting to register a land ownership change using fake documents, in a high-profile case that led Sekisui House Ltd. <1928> to lose billions of yen. (Jiji)
Oct 17
Keisuke Fukuchi, the 2018 world champion of the Othello board game and the youngest ever at 11, was congratulated and surprised while on his return flight to Japan after the competition in Prague as the pilot revealed via intercom that he was the previous record holder. (Kyodo)
Oct 17
Gunma Prefecture says its helicopter that crashed in August is suspected to have been flying in violation of civil aviation laws. (NHK)
Oct 17
An unmanned store using artificial intelligence instead of cashiers is set to open on a trial basis at a station in Tokyo. (NHK)
Oct 16
Showa University in Tokyo admitted Monday that its medical school has been rigging entrance examination results in favor of first- and second-time test takers, while putting former students' children high on waiting lists to fill vacancies. (Jiji)
Oct 16
The Imperial Household Agency said Monday it will jointly excavate Japan’s largest ancient mounded tomb with a local government for the first time. (Japan Times)
Oct 16
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says Facebook has informed the government that its recent massive data leak could involve Japanese users. (NHK)