PTA head arrested over murder of nine-year-old pupil in Japan

Chloe Farand
Le Thi Nhat Linh's naked body was found near a river about 10 kilometres away from her school: NHK World Japan

The head of the parent-teacher association at a primary school in Japan has been arrested over the murder of a nine-year-old pupil.

Police have arrested Yasumasa Shibuya, 46, after the naked body of Vietnamese school girl Le Thi Nhat Linh was found near a drainage ditch in Chiba, The Japan Times reports.

Some local residents said Mr Shibuya was known as a caring father and volunteered to keep an eye out for children walking to school.

He reportedly lives 300 metres away from the victim’s home.

Mr Shibuya was initially charged with abandoning a body after his DNA was found by police at the crime scene about 10 kilometres away from the school.

Chiba Police said he was the only suspect in the case.

But sources at the school have also said Mr Shibuya has been collecting donations to help Linh’s family return to Vietnam.

According to the Japan Times, the police suspects Linh’s body was dumped after she died of suffocation.

The schoolgirl went missing on March 24 after leaving school and walking the 600 metres, which separate it from her home.

Mr Shibuya reportedly took over the parents' association last year.

Maki Eguchi,who heard Shibuya address the association during a meeting last year, told the newspaper: “It is rare for a man to represent the association, and everyone was counting on him. He said he would help protect the safety of children and improve their academic abilities.

"He seemed like he was thinking seriously about children and making the school better.”