A Japanese hotel manager was discovered dead with a suicide note after being forced to apologize after it was revealed that the hotel’s spa bath water was only changed twice a year.
On March 11, Makoto Yamada, 70, was discovered on a mountain pass in the city of Chikushino, Fukuoka Prefecture.
Mr. Yamada was the former president of Chikushino’s 158-year-old traditional inn Daimaru Besso, which Emperor Hirohito once visited. He had only left the hotel 10 days before his death on March 2.
Following an inspection in November, the hotel came under intense scrutiny after it was discovered that legionella bacteria was found in the bath water at 3,700 times the permitted limit. Legionella can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia.
Police believe they discovered a suicide note in a car near where Mr Yamada was discovered dead.
‘I am very sorry,’ the note reportedly said. I hold moral responsibility for everything. Please look after the rest.’
Mr. Yamada had been questioned by officers for approximately six hours on March 10, and he was summoned again the following day but did not appear at the police station.
Following an inspection of the inn’s hot springs, it was discovered that the bath water was only changed twice a year rather than weekly.
On March 8, the Fukuoka Prefectural Government filed a complaint with the police, accusing the inn of violating the Public Bath Houses Act by lying about changing the bath water much more frequently than it actually did.
In a news conference on February 28, Mr Yamada admitted, ‘I told my staff it was OK not to change the bath water because fewer people were using it.’