TOKYO – Three people were found dead inside a truck, in Japan's latest apparent group suicide (search), police said.
The two men and a woman were found Thursday in Mitama in central Yamanashi prefecture (state), 109 kilometers (68 miles) west of Tokyo, a police spokesman said on condition of anonymity.
It was believed that the three, who bore no signs of external wounds, died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Two portable stoves containing charcoal were found on the back seat of the truck, and the windows were sealed with adhesive tape from the inside, he said.
The trio, believed to be in their 20s to 30s, were being identified.
Japan (search) has witnessed a series of suicide pacts in recent months, many thought to have been plotted by people who met over the Internet.
Suicide pacts have been made over the Internet since the late 1990s, and have been reported everywhere from Guam to the Netherlands. Experts say they tend to occur in cycles, with news of group suicides sparking copycat incidents.
Earlier this month, three people — a 42-year-old woman, a 19-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman — were found dead in a car parked in a remote forest in southern Oita prefecture. Eight people were found dead in two separate incidents last month, and at least 13 others have died in similar circumstances since October.
Suicides in Japan hit a record high last year, exceeding 32,000.