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Tokyo police handed over man's body to wrong family after identity mix-up

TOKYO -- Police handed over a man's body found in a river here about a year ago to the wrong family after a woman and her relatives mistakenly identified the body as their missing kin, Tokyo police revealed on June 12.

    The mix-up surfaced after the missing man returned home early last month. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) subsequently managed to identify the body and apologized to the deceased man's relatives for the mistake.

    An MPD official was apologetic about the mix-up. "The incident is extremely regrettable. We're determined to prevent a recurrence," said Tomoaki Uehara, a senior officer at the MPD.

    According to the MPD, the body was found in the Edo River in the capital's Katsushika Ward at around 7:30 a.m. on June 21, 2017. Investigators at the force's Kameari Police Station that handled the case confirmed that the man had drowned. No articles showing his identity were found.

    The MPD examined missing person's reports submitted to police stations under its jurisdiction, and suspected the body might be that of a man in his 40s from Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture.

    After the wife of the Matsudo man and two of their relatives examined the body and claimed it was that of their kin, police handed over the body to the family. However, the missing husband suddenly came home in early May.

    The MPD subsequently found that a missing person's report on a Tokyo man in his 30s had been submitted to the force on the day the body was found. The MPD confirmed that the body is that of this missing man after the fingerprints of the body matched his.

    Kameari Police Station is set to hand over the remains of the man to his bereaved family.

    (Japanese original by Shota Harumashi, City News Department)

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