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Man arrested over 18-hour hostage standoff at west Japan transport firm

A car carrying a man arrested on suspicion of holding a woman hostage at a transportation company in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, is seen after arriving at Izumo Police Station on Jan. 15, 2020. (Mainichi/Tatsuya Shibasaki)
Rescue workers come out of the Ueda Cold Corp. office in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, on Jan. 15, 2020, after a man who took a woman hostage at the office was arrested. (Mainichi/Shu Suzuki)

IZUMO, Shimane -- A man was arrested on Jan. 15 after taking a woman hostage for 18 hours at a transportation company office in this western Japan city, police said.

The woman was not injured in the incident. The man in his 20s, whose identity was not immediately disclosed, is accused of illegally confining the woman. Investigators are questioning the man over the motives behind his alleged crime.

At around 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 14, the man locked the woman in her 40s, an employee of Ueda Cold Corp., up in a meeting room at the firm in the city of Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, along the Sea of Japan coast, and walked back and forth along a corridor, demanding that he meet with a specific insider of the company, prefectural police said.

The man subsequently freed the woman and was arrested at around 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 15 after giving in to police persuasion.

The man is not an employee of Ueda Cold and apparently has no connection with the company, according to sources familiar with the firm. Nor is he apparently acquainted with the woman he took hostage.

According to a private credit research company and other sources, Ueda Cold was founded in 1973 and specializes in the transportation of chilled and frozen perishable items. The company has distribution centers in Izumo and the city of Tottori in neighboring Tottori Prefecture and has about 170 employees.

(Japanese original by Shu Suzuki and Manami Sakakihara, Matsue Bureau, and Tatsuya Shibasaki, Ota Local Bureau)

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