Beaten Japanese Flies Home, Unable to Speak

The Japanese woman who was brutally beaten in her Phnom Penh home and sent to Sing­apore in a comatose state for treatment has recovered slightly and re­turned to Japan, a senior embassy of­ficial said Thursday.

“She is still not in good condition,” said Yutaka Aoki, first secretary for the Japanese Embassy.

Hiromi Yukimatsu, 23, was at­tacked and beaten in the head and face late at night earlier this month by an unknown assailant. She was treated briefly in Phnom Penh, but did not regain consciousness here. She was sent to Singapore health facilities on life support the day after the attack. She later regained consciousness and returned to Japan early this week.

Yukimatsu’s beating startled the Japanese community here, and has so far confounded police, who have found no evidence of forced entry or of robbery.

No arrests have been made and police remain “in the dark,” with very few leads, said Phnom Penh Penal Police Chief Sok Khemarin. Police are searching for Yuki­matsu’s motorcycle taxi driver, and consider him a possible suspect, Sok Khemarin said.

Yukimatsu returned to Japan on Monday and is now recovering with her family in Aichi prefecture, west of Tokyo, but has so far not recovered the power of speech, Aoki said.

The only communication she is able to perform is that of drawing little letters with her fingertip on the hands of her parents, he said.

Because she cannot yet talk, she has not been able to give any statement to police or other officials in Japan, Aoki said.

However, “the [Cambodian] police have already requested co­operation” from Japanese authorities in case she regains the power of speech and is able to give a statement, Aoki said.

(Additional reporting by Saing Soenthrith)

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