Japanese detectives arrested flamboyant businessman Kazuyoshi Miura late Wednesday night in Tokyo, charging him with the attempted murder of his wife in 1981 in the New Otani Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Miura, 38, was taken into custody as he left the Ginza Tokyo Hotel where he had just finished a television interview in which he denied any part in the alleged murder attempt. He also denied any connection with the subsequent murder of his wife, Kazumi, in Los Angeles and the 1979 slaying of his former lover Chizuko Shiraishi.
A former girlfriend of Miura, Michiko Yazawa, 25, was arrested a short time after the businessman as she walked near her Tokyo apartment. She was charged with carrying out the actual attack on Kazumi Miura in her New Otani Hotel room on the evening of Aug. 13, 1981.
Kazumi Miura, 28, suffered a fatal head wound during a Los Angeles street robbery on Nov. 18, 1981, three months after the alleged New Otani attack. Her husband was slightly wounded in the leg. Miura told Los Angeles police that he and his wife were gunned down and robbed on Fremont Avenue by two men who escaped in an old green sedan.
Kazumi Miura never regained consciousness and died more than a year later in a Japanese hospital. It was later learned that Miura was the beneficiary of insurance policies on his wife totaling $655,000.
Miura has admitted that he had a business and personal relationship with Shiraishi, who vanished from Japan in 1979 after receiving a large divorce settlement. On March 29, 1984, a body discovered five years before in an open field in Lake View Terrace near the Foothill Freeway was identified from dental X-rays as that of Shiraishi. Although the cause of death has not been determined, Los Angeles police consider it a homicide.
Miura also has admitted withdrawing $21,000 from her bank account after her disappearance, using her bank card and secret number. He claimed it was in partial payment of a loan he had made to her.
Veteran observers in Japan said the law permitting prosecution of Japanese nationals for crimes committed overseas is rarely invoked and has never been used in cases involving crimes allegedly committed in the United States.
Between 200 and 300 newspaper and television reporters and cameramen witnessed Miura's arrest as he drove out of the parking garage of the big Tokyo hotel shortly before 11:30 p.m. Tokyo time. The event was broadcast live by four TV networks.
Japanese newsmen had staked out Miura's suburban home and followed him everywhere since the return to Japan last month of two Japanese police inspectors who had spent three weeks working with Los Angeles Police Department detectives about the alleged New Otani attack.
In Los Angeles, police spokesman Lt. Dan Cooke indicated he was not surprised by the Tokyo arrest. "We knew what evidence they (the Japanese detectives) had," Cooke said, "but we don't know what further evidence was obtained in Japan that led to the arrest."
Inquiries to Continue
Cooke said two detectives of the major crimes division, Bill Williams and Phil Sartuche, who have been assigned to the case since about a month after the shooting, will continue their investigations of the alleged New Otani attack and the slayings of Kazumi Miura and Shiraishi.
Jack White, the chief of the district attorney's bureau of investigations, whose new Asian investigative unit is conducting a parallel investigation of the Miura case, said he did not believe Miura's arrest would "change our stance" in the matter. He said his bureau will cooperate with both Los Angeles and Japanese authorities.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Louis Ito, who has been working with White and Jimmy Sakoda, head of the Asian investigative unit, said that to his knowledge this was the first case in which a Japanese accused of a crime against another Japanese in this country has been arrested in Japan. Ito added that the arrest does not foreclose the possibility of extraditing from Japan a suspect in either of the Los Angeles slayings if sufficient evidence can be developed.
Writes Two Books
Miura, an importer of American fashion goods, is a flashy dresser who seems to enjoy the publicity that he has received in Japan since the 1981 shooting. He was married for the fourth time in April and has written two books about what he calls his persecution by the media.
He apparently had anticipated his arrest Wednesday night because two hours later, his wife, Yoshie, read a statement written by her husband in which he said that if police announce he has confessed "they will have obtained it as a result of physical torture against me."
Under Japanese law, there is no bail system and the suspect can be held and questioned for 23 days on a single charge, after which another related charge may be filed and he may be held for another 23 days.