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 10:39 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
updated 5:34 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
updated 9:22 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
updated 7:13 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
updated 11:56 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
updated 5:40 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
ADVERTISEMENT