Charred bodies of elderly Japanese couple found in Bali with multiple stab wounds

National Search and Rescue Agency personnel removing the bodies of a Japanese couple who were found burned in their house in Bali, on Sept 4, 2017.
National Search and Rescue Agency personnel removing the bodies of a Japanese couple who were found burned in their house in Bali, on Sept 4, 2017.PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AFP) - Indonesian police have launched a murder investigation into the deaths of an elderly Japanese couple whose bodies were found burned beyond recognition on the holiday island of Bali.

The scorched corpses of Nurio Matsuba, 76, and his 73-year-old wife Hiroko were discovered on Sept 4 by their Indonesian foster son in Jimbaran, a fishing village and resort area in southern Bali.

"This is a planned murder... it's clear the person has planned it before going to the victims' house," Denpasar police chief Hadi Purnomo said on Monday (Sept 11).

Investigators are looking for more than one suspect and have interviewed 42 witnesses so far, ranging from family to business associates, Chief Purnomo said.

They are yet to establish a motive for the murders.

The couple had lived in Bali for seven years and the husband was a broker in a tuna export company, according to the police.

Authorities are still waiting for the results of an autopsy, but initial examinations revealed multiple stab wounds to the Matsubas.

Investigators found rope and two knives at the crime scene.