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 9:54 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
updated 7:24 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
updated 1:44 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
updated 8:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
updated 3:22 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
updated 6:34 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
updated 12:46 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
updated 12:01 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT