Episode 6: Translator’s friend
Kaga and Matsumiya call on Mineko’s good friend, Yoshioka Tamiko, a translator. She had also been the first person to discover Mineko’s dead body. Looking back on the day of the murder, Tamiko replies, “I had made a date to go to Mineko’s house at 6.30 p.m. But I called her at 6.00 p.m. to change the time to 7.30 p.m. because of a last-minute engagement.” The person who had caused this change is her boyfriend, Tachibana Koji. He had dated her at short notice, “Let’s meet today at 6.30 p.m. at the Ginza jewellery store, Tiffany.”
Koji had proposed to her at Tiffany, and then Mineko was murdered. As a consequence, Tamiko received a big shock. “Did anyone lose a mobile phone?” Kaga asks Tamiko. This is because an call from a public phone was recorded as a received call in Mineko’s mobile phone. According to the statement by Miyuki of ‘Quattro’, it seemed that a person had called Mineko’s mobile phone from a public payphone while she was choosing cakes at ‘Quattro’. Tamiko instantly gives a vague answer. The phone call Koji had made to Tamiko was from a public phone. Furthermore, Tamiko had told Koji that she would be meeting Mineko. This casts a shadow of doubt in Tamiko’s mind …
Koji is a British filmmaker of Japanese descent. He had come to Japan two years ago and has enjoyed a surge in popularity in the past year as his productions drew attention. Kaga and Matsumiya get to meet Koji. They find out that he had been introduced to Mineko by Tamiko. He says that it is his rule not to talk about his private affairs and will not speak further about how he met Tamiko. When asked about his mobile phone, he tells them he had recently lost his old phone and had reported it missing.
On the day of the incident, Koji had arrived at Tiffany at 6.30 p.m. However, they learn that he had initially made an appointment to come eight days earlier on 5 April. However, he told Tamiko about the change in plans on 13 April itself … What was his intention?
Tamiko has difficulty getting over the shock of the incident. This is because she had accepted Koji’s marriage proposal even though she had promised Mineko, who seemed to have contemplated divorce after her son Koki left home, “I will take care of you until you can stand on your own as a translator.” In the end, she had betrayed Mineko and they had ended up in a quarrel. The murder had occurred at precisely the time that she had arranged with Mineko, and she considers herself responsible for Mineko’s death. “If I hadn’t changed our appointed time …” Tamiko is guilt-stricken.
Therefore, Tamiko is hesitant about marrying Koji because she cannot be the only one happy. Koji makes no secret of his irritation with her. Was Mineko only a nuisance who plagued Tamiko as far as Koji was concerned?
Some days later, Tamiko receives a call from a public phone on her mobile phone. The caller is Kaga. He says he is nearby and would like to speak to her.
Kaga, who visits her apartment, tells her that there is a high possibility the murderer had called Mineko from a public phone. Mineko had received a visit from the murderer because Tamiko pushed their meeting back by an hour. Since Mineko did not use formal language with the caller, they were on close terms. She had allowed a brief one hour visit, just as Kaga had done to Tamiko by making a phone call to her near her house … Even Mineko’s ex-husband, Naohiro, had not known her address. However, Koji had visited Mineko’s apartment with Tamiko
Kojima and Uesugi turn their suspicions to Koji, who had deliberately changed the appointment time at the jewellery store, knew Mineko’s residence, lost his mobile phone, and was 10 minutes away by car at the time of the crime. Matsumiya is instructed to detain Koji who is headed for London after his marriage.
Matsumiya and the other detectives head to Koji’s workplace to bring him in. However, Koji has cancelled all plans. He had passed a ticket to London to Tamiko but she did not take it. “Mineko would still be alive if not for your sudden call.” Bringing ‘the item in question’ that been received from ‘Yanagisawa’, Kaga arrives at Tamiko’s apartment and starts to unravel the mystery of Koji’s actions on the day of the murder.
Koji had made it seem like a sudden change from 5 May and gone to the jewellery store with Tamiko on 13 May because it was actually a surprise. The two of them had met for the first time at a cherry blossom viewing party on 13 April at 6.30 p.m. and Koji wanted his proposal to take place at same time exactly one year later. The ‘sakura’ is the symbol of their happiness. Tamiko is bothered that her good friend, Mineko, would not give her blessings for their marriage, but when she sees the sakura lacquered couple chopsticks that had been ordered from ‘Yanagisawa’, she knows Mineko’s true feelings …
The awkwardness between Tamiko and Koji are dispelled with Mineko’s blessings. Tamiko, who had been hurt by the incident, is saved by Kaga.
What idea had Mineko proposed to Kiyose? Mystery still surrounds her murder case …
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