Japanese Man Arrested on U.S. Warrant For 1981 LA Shooting

By: THOMAS WATKINS Associated Press Writer
By: THOMAS WATKINS Associated Press Writer

A Japanese businessman whose conviction in the infamous downtown shooting of his wife was overturned in Japan a decade ago, has been arrested on suspicion of her murder, police said.

Kazuyoshi Miura, 60, was arrested Friday while visiting Saipan, a U.S. commonwealth territory in the Pacific, after cold case detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department worked with authorities there. He faces extradition to the U.S., police said.

"A murder suspect who has been eluding (the) dragnet has been
finally captured," the LAPD said in a statement.

Department spokeswoman Officer April Harding said no other details were available.

Miura and his wife, Kazumi Miura were visiting Los Angeles on Nov. 18, 1981, when they were shot in a parking lot. Miura was hit in the right leg, while his 28-year-old wife was shot in the head.

His wife remained in a coma and was dispatched in an Air Force hospital jet to Japan, where she eventually died. Miura blamed street robbers on the attack and railed against the violent city from his hospital bed.

The incident sparked an international furor because it reinforced Japanese stereotypes of violence in the U.S. At a time when the city was preparing for the 1984 Olympics and was particularly sensitive about its overseas image, the LAPD vowed to find the killers.

Miura, a clothing importer who traveled regularly to the U.S., said he would write then President Reagan and then Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and urge them to make the city safer.

"Many young Japanese will be coming to the U.S. with their dreams in their hearts," Miura said at the time, according to the Los Angeles Times. "I strongly hope this accident will never occur again."

In 1984, however, Miura's image as a bereaved husband was tarnished by a series of news articles in Japan.

Miura reportedly collected about $1.4 million at today's exchange rate on life insurance policies he had taken out on his wife. In addition, an actress who claimed to be Miura's lover, told a newspaper that three months before the shooting Miura hired her to kill his wife in their hotel room.

Miura was arrested in 1985 on suspicion of assaulting his wife with intent to kill her for insurance money based on the hotel incident. He was convicted of attempted murder and while serving a six-year sentence, was charged with his wife's murder in 1988.

Miura was convicted of that charge in 1994 and sentenced to life in prison. Four years later, however, a Japanese high court overturned the sentence, throwing out a lower court's determination that Miura conspired with a friend in Los Angeles to kill his wife.

Complicated cases can drag out for years in Japan, prompting criticism from human rights activists and lawyers over the slow proceedings.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-02-23-08 1545EST

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