Japan police probe death of Swiss-based financier

TOKYO (AFP) - Bodies believed to be those of an international financier and his wife who went missing from their swanky Tokyo apartment after returning from Switzerland have been unearthed in Japan, reports said on Tuesday.

Mr Makoto Shimomi, 51, who reportedly runs a Liechtenstein-based investment fund, and Ms Mie Shimomi, 48, disappeared after leaving their luxury condo in Tokyo's upmarket Ginza district on Dec 7.

The couple, who have a number of homes both in Japan and abroad and are reportedly known on Monaco's social scene, told friends they were going to a party 150 km outside the capital.

Police say there was no such event and they now believe the pair were kidnapped and strangled.

Television footage taken from a helicopter showed a large blue tent over a patch of soil in Saitama, just outside Tokyo, where police reportedly found the two bodies buried in shallow graves.

Local media reported investigators have confirmed the man's body to be that of Mr Shimomi and are close to confirming the identity of the other as his wife.

Police on Tuesday told AFP they were looking for a number of men in connection with the two deaths. Reports say all of those being sought are acquaintances of the dead man.

Jiji Press and Nippon Television said one man had been arrested on a sub-tropical island in Japan's far south.

Violent crime is rare in Japan and the country's media seizes on unnatural deaths to feed a public fascination.

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