Suicide Web Site Creator Arrested for Murder

Police in Japan arrested a man who ran an Internet suicide site for allegedly killing a woman who paid him to do so, an official said Thursday.

Kazunari Saito, a 33-year-old electrician, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly giving Sayaka Nishizawa, 21, sleeping pills and suffocating her in April, a police official in Kanagawa said, speaking on condition of anonymity, citing policy.

Nishizawa contacted the suspect through an Internet suicide site he hosted and paid him $1,700, according to the official.

Nishizawa's father found her body on April 16 in her apartment in Kanagawa, just south of Tokyo. Police had been investigating the case after a note suggesting suicide was found, but her cell phone and keys were missing, Kyodo News agency reported.

The suspect told police the woman had asked him to "see through" the dying process, Kyodo said.

Saito set up his site last year to give tips on how to commit suicide, the agency said. Officials didn't immediately say if the Web site was still working.

According to the Yomiuri, Japan's largest daily, the woman wrote him in early April saying: "I want to die, how can I die?"

Saito wrote back: "I will give you lots of sleeping pills. I will help."

It was not clear why the woman needed help to kill herself.

Japan's suicide rate is among the highest in the industrialized world, and the number of people taking their own lives topped 30,000 for a ninth straight year in 2006.