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Suicide website creator arrested for murder

Latin: sui caedere, to kill oneself — important distinction here

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Police in Japan arrested a man who ran an internet suicide help site for allegedly being a little too helpful.

Kazunari Saito, a 33-year-old electrician, was taken into custody yesterday for allegedly giving Sayaka Nishizawa, 21, sleeping pills and afterwards suffocating her — all at the victim's previous request to die.

Saito allegedly met Nishizawa through a suicide website he hosted. (The site offered tips on how to commit suicide, as opposed merely making the user want to commit suicide — we're looking at you, 4chan).

According to officials, Nishizawa paid about $1,700 (200,000 yen) to release herself from this mortal coil.

(We'll also point out the website's advice must have been rubbish, given the necessity to follow the pills with an uncouth suffocation chaser).

Japanese news website Asahi.com reports that Saito visited Nishizawa's apartment on April 12 and gave her 20 to 30 sleeping pills. Yet unconfident in his professionalism, Saito allegedly placed a plastic bag over Nishizawa's head some time later.

"I was asked to ensure she was dead," the source quoted Saito as saying.

Nishizawa's body was found April 16 by her father. Police found notes in her room indicating she wished to commit suicide, but soon suspected foul play because her keys and mobile phone were missing.

Saito reportedly became a suspect when police began investigating suicide-related websites. On his site, Saito allegedly posted some rather incriminating messages such as:

"Revenge, drugs, assisted suicide, et cetera. I will do anything. For more details and rates, go to the web site or email me," according to officials.

Police say Saito also sold prescription sleeping pills through his site to several individuals in Tokyo. He was previously arrested July 24 on drug charges.

Japan has one of the highest suicide rates among industrialized nations. According to a study done by Yokohama City University researchers, suicides in 2006 surpassed 30,000 for the ninth straight year. It's somewhat of a national pastime there — like baseball in the US, but with less downtime involved. ®

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