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Police arrest Japanese man with 10 wives
Updated: 2006-01-27 06:56

TOKYO: A self-proclaimed polygamist believed to be living with 10 women was arrested Thursday on suspicion of threatening a woman reportedly with death for refusing to join his family, police said.

Hirohito Shibuya, 57, allegedly verbally intimidated the woman in October last year after she refused to live with him at his Tokyo home, police official Shoji Fujimaki said.

He denied threatening the woman, saying, "I just told her what appeared in a dream," according to the police.

The police said as they have received several reports that Shibuya had also tried to have other women join, they are investigating whether any of them were threatened by Shibuya or are being effectively confined by him.

Shibuya also allegedly told the 20-year-old woman, "I am a former senior officer of the Self-Defence Forces (SDF), and there are some secret agents around me," but his former wife, 59, told the police that he was never a member of the SDF.

Shibuya was believed to already be living with 10 women aged from their 20s to their 50s, Fujimaki said.

"Yes, we have a polygamous setup in my house," Shibuya said in comments taped on Wednesday and broadcast Thursday on public broadcaster NHK. Reports said that he denied threatening anyone.

Polygamy is illegal in Japan. Shibuya reportedly married some of the women but later divorced them.

Media accounts have said many of the women worked to support Shibuya, who is unemployed, and that he had used a chant to attract them.

Shibuya told reporters on Wednesday, "I realize that I can attract women by reciting a charm. Since starting fortune-telling at home, female clients have gathered around me, and now we lead a communal life, just like polygamy."

He also said, "I cannot work because I suffer from gout and a panic disorder. The women are earning our living."

Kyodo News agency quoted police as saying Shibuya told the woman that she would be made into "mincemeat" or otherwise killed if she turned him down or told anybody about the incident.

The arrest came after the police raided his house on Wednesday.

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