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Man found living above Oita Pref. public toilet 'for 3 years'

The public toilet in a city park where a man was found living in the attic is pictured in Usuki, Oita Prefecture. (Photo courtesy of the Usuki Municipal Government)

USUKI, Oita -- A man found living in the attic of a public toilet in a park here had been there for the last three years before he was arrested last week, police have learned.

    According to the Usuki-Tsukumi Police Station, Takashi Yamanouchi, 54, was arrested on suspicion of trespassing on April 13 after an electrician doing maintenance on the facilities saw him and contacted city authorities the previous day.

    Yamanouchi, unemployed, has told police that he left Gifu Prefecture roughly 10 years ago, and after living in various places, claims he settled in the attic above the public toilets three years ago when a previous inhabitant moved out.

    Police reportedly found at least 300 2-liter and 500-mililiter bottles filled with what appears to be the man's urine, along with an electric heater, gas stove, clothing and other items in the about 92-square-meter space. The attic was neat and tidy, according to a city employee who accompanied police to the scene.

    Yamanouchi is believed to have accessed the space by using the walls of toilet stalls to climb through an approximately 50-centimeter-square maintenance opening in the ceiling.

    Usuki municipal authorities have searched the spaces above all public toilets in the city's parks, but have found no evidence of any other interlopers. Access to the attic in the facility where Yamanouchi was living was also moved out of reach.

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