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 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 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