Japanese couple may have been murdered due to business woes, ‘if’ they were murdered

Puri Gading, Jimbaran, the neighborhood where the Japanese couple had been living.

Business woes may be the motive behind the deaths of an elderly Japanese couple found dead in Jimbaran, Bali last week—that is, if they were murdered. Despite strong indication that the couple was killed and even expressing strong suspicions of the likelihood, police in Bali have been very hesitant to rule it a murder.

Denpasar Police Chief Hadi Purnomo told reporters that they will “bring in a business colleague from Japan in the near future for questioning” in the investigation of the deaths of Matsuba Norio, 76, and wife, Matsuba Hiroko, 73.

The couple’s charred bodies were found in their rented house in the residential area of Puri Gading, Jimbaran on Sept. 4. Not only were their bodies burnt, but both bodies also had multiple stab wounds.

Norio had multiple stab wounds on his back and his neck was sliced, while his wife was stabbed in the neck and stomach and a rope was tied around her neck and wrists, reports Japanese news agency, Kyodo.

An autopsy conducted on Sept. 8 could not determine whether the couple had died first from being burnt or stabbed, but police said during a briefing on Tuesday that they now know they had been dead before their bodies were burned.

“They died first then were burned,” Purnomo said.

No valuables were reportedly taken from their home.

The couple had been living in Bali for about five years and had a business exporting tuna. They had previously lived in West Java city Bandung for over 10 years.

Showing they’re serious about solving the case, police have formed a special team to investigate the deaths. A total of 42 witnesses have been examined related to the couple’s suspicious deaths, according to Purnomo. Witnesses reportedly include neighbors, a housekeeper, an adopted son, and even the couple’s son who flew from Bali to Tokyo.

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