According to doctors inObuse in the mountainous Nagano prefecture, Ichijuro Nakazawa, 58, died of heart failure on Monday shortly after drinking oolong tea bought from a local supermarket.
The can was found to have a small hole in its base, covered with tape, through which cyanide is believed to have been injected.
The incident was disclosed only yesterday, a day after a similar can was discovered by a supermarket employee in a neighbouring town. He spat out the bitter-tasting drink, which was later discovered to contain cyanide, similarly inserted through a small hole. On the same day, a taxi driver in Nara was treated in hospital after drinking a bottle laced with insecticide, which had been left in the tray of a vending machine.
These appear to be the latest in what is turning into a plague of unsolved, apparently random and motiveless poisoning incidents.
The poisonings began in July, when four people were killed and 60 made ill after eating curry laced with cyanide at a local festival in central Japan. The police got off to a bad start when they misidentified the poison used, thus causing confusion among doctors treating the patients. They have made no discernible progress in finding the perpetrator.
A few weeks later, a group of workers on the other side of the country were treated in hospital after someone spiked their tea with sodium azide, a rare chemical used in the manufacture of car air-bags. Late last month, children at a school in Tokyo were sent bottles of disinfectant labelled as diet drinks. A boy who drank from one is still in hospital.Reuse content