Skip to main content

Japanese woman loses toe tips after coworker allegedly puts acid in her shoes

By Yoko Wakatsuki and Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 3:02 AM EDT, Fri March 29, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A 40-year-old man is accused of putting corrosive acid in his colleague's shoes
  • The female coworker had to have the tips of five toes removed
  • Police say they believe the suspect had "romantic feelings" toward the victim
  • The suspect denies the accusations, police say

Tokyo (CNN) -- It's a case that could make you think twice before leaving your footwear unattended.

Japanese police say they have arrested a man over allegations he tried to kill a female colleague by putting hydrofluoric acid, a highly corrosive chemical, in her shoes.

The alleged attack, which police say took place in December, caused gangrene to develop in the toes of the woman's left foot.

To deal with the problem, doctors had to remove the tips of five of her toes, said Teyuaki Harano, deputy chief of police in Gotemba, the city less than 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo where the suspect, Tatsujiro Fukazawa, was arrested Thursday.

Bolshoi director: I know who attacked me
Bolshoi director speaks about acid attack

Fukazawa, 40, denies the allegations of attempted murder, according to police.

Police officials believe the suspect had "romantic feelings" toward the victim, Harano said. He didn't elaborate on why those feelings might be connected to the alleged acid attack.

Japanese media reports said that Fukazawa and the victim both worked in a laboratory at a company that makes carbon-fiber products.

It's very common for Japanese lab or factory workers to take off their shoes when entering controlled environments in such facilities.

Police declined to provide further details on the circumstances of the alleged attack or the place where the two people worked.

Hydrofluoric acid, also known as hydrogen fluoride, is "a very strong inorganic acid," and skin contact with it requires immediate hospital treatment, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

"Fingertip injuries from hydrogen fluoride may result in persistent pain, bone loss, and injury to the nail bed," the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say.

The acid is used in the manufacture of many products such as plastics and electrical components, as well as for etching glass and metal, according to the CDC.

CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki reported from Tokyo, and Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:10 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
In South Korea, volunteer divers are risking their lives to rescue victims of the sunken ferry.
updated 9:01 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Park Jee Young, 22, helped passengers escape as the Sewol ferry sank -- giving out life jackets while refusing to wear one herself.
updated 12:43 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
What did outgoing manager David Moyes get wrong in his six months with English Premier League football team Manchester United?
updated 5:25 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
In honor of Shakespeare's birthday, here are 15 of the world's most amazing theaters.
updated 1:34 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
CNN exclusive: Australian officials are hammering out a new agreement for widening the Flight 370 search area.
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Malaysian officials sent to brief Chinese families are armed with little to no information.
updated 11:45 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
When a team of Indian surgeons opened up the stomach of a 63-year-old man, they had no idea they'd extract a fortune.
updated 3:01 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Do these photos CNN of gun-toting men wearing green uniforms prove Russian forces are in eastern Ukraine?
updated 7:06 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
If the Duchess wears it, then your fashion career is sorted for life.
updated 9:30 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Tucked away near the border with Cameroon, this poor corner of Nigeria is no stranger to such brazen, violent acts.
updated 8:34 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
An infant mountain Gorilla sits in the dense jungle canopy on the edge of Uganda's Bwindi National Park in this 29, January 2007 photo. Bwindi, or the 'Impenetrable Forest' as it is known to many tourists is home to the majority of Uganda's rare and endangered mountain gorilla population where plans are underway to habituate two more gorilla family groups to counter growing demand from a flourishing gorilla trek tourism business, a major source of income for the Uganda tourism Authority. AFP PHOTO / STUART PRICE. (Photo credit should read STUART PRICE/AFP/Getty Images)
Tthe constant threat of poaching, deforestation and human diseases means the world's mountain gorillas could be completely wiped out.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Prince George takes a special interest in an Australian animal on a zoo trip.
updated 10:02 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
How could a teenage stowaway survive hours in a jet's sub-zero wheel well at 38,000 feet?
updated 12:28 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
updated 6:58 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
See what life is like for superyacht stewardesses-in-training. One thing's for certain -- they can never say "no."
updated 10:57 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Home of Bruce Lee, divine dim sum, lofty buildings, loftier real estate prices and easy access to the great outdoors.
ADVERTISEMENT