A prisoner has committed suicide by thrusting chopsticks into his own eyes.
Guards at a Chiba prison discovered a 49-year-old prisoner being held in solitary confinement lying dead on his futon in the middle of the night, two chopsticks protruding from his eyes.
He was quickly taken to hospital, but had already expired. Doctors declared the cause of death to be penetration of the chopsticks into his brain.
The lacquered wooden chopsticks used were his own, and would have likely tapered to a fine point in the Japanese style.
Guards checked each cell every 20 minutes, but nothing amiss was noted in the check immediately prior to him being discovered dead.
He was convicted of armed robbery and murder for beating the manager of a gas station to death with an iron pipe in an armed robbery committed in 1992, making off with $60,000 in cash. There were doubts about his sanity, but courts ruled him responsible and convicted him.
However, a psychiatric evaluation in 1994 apparently found him to be non compos mentis and thus unfit to stand trial, but he was kept in prison anyway, having served a total of 16 years at the time of his death.
Police are working under the assumption he committed suicide, saying there was no evidence anyone entered the cell.