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Japan Pop Star’s Mother Killed

March 17, 1999

TOKYO (AP) _ The mother of Japanese pop star Namie Amuro was run over several times and possibly hacked with an ax on Wednesday, police said, in a killing that attracted the nation’s attention.

The suspect, the singer’s brother-in-law, fled in a car and was found dead in an apparent suicide, police spokesman Jun Yogi said. An empty container of powdered insecticide was in the 44-year-old man’s car.

The deaths in Okinawa were major news in newspapers and television, which showed a detailed map of the scene and images of Amuro crying, her hands covering her face.

Emiko Taira, 48, was attacked on a sidewalk when she stepped out of a shop with her husband, said Yogi, a spokesman for the prefectural police department on Japan’s southern island of Okinawa.

She was pronounced dead soon after she was taken to a hospital. An autopsy was set for Thursday.

Amuro, 21, reached the top of Japan’s dance hit parade within a few years of her 1992 debut. Huge numbers of teen-age girls imitated her style, wearing micro-minis with elevator-soled boots and dying their hair brown. She’s since had a baby and toned down her image.

The mother also earned herself some fame last year when she published a book about herself and Amuro.