Japanese worker attacked, recovers from assault

A Japanese national, who is in Samoa to work on the $44 million Vaisigano Bridge Project, is recovering from his injuries after he was attacked by unidentified youth on 18 July 2020.

Fifty-seven-year-old Project Manager, Eiji Takano, told the Samoa Observer in an interview that he was speaking on his phone at the project site when two males attacked him on that Saturday.

“I heard and felt stones being thrown at me from the back and when I looked, one guy came towards me, hugged me tightly and started throwing hard punches around my body [which I can somehow still feel],” he said.

“I tried to fight back but he kept hitting me around my body while some workers were on their way to me, the other male whom he drank with, came and they both beat me up together.

“Three big punches I felt on my head which left a scratch and I felt dizzy until some men came to my assistance. I was talking to some people in Japan about the construction process when they did that to me.”

Mr. Takano was taken to the hospital after the attack to be treated and was discharged the same day. 

While he is now back at work, he told the Samoa Observer that his neck still feels sore from the attack a fortnight ago, and he fears being victimised again if unruly youth around the construction site are not controlled. 

The attack occurred behind the Pasefika Inn, on the road that connects Leone, as one of the inn’s employees Lafaele Failautusi witnessed the assault.

Mr. Failautusi confirmed the incident and said the two attackers, who are from Leone, were drinking under a Tamaligi tree behind the inn prior to ambushing the Japanese national.

“They are always drinking under that tree the same as that day and I guess he was too drunk so he ended up beating the Japanese guy without any reasons,” he added.

According to construction workers who were on site when Mr. Takano was attacked, the two males were drunk when they attacked their colleague with one taken into Police custody the same day. The second male was captured a few days later.

A Japanese Embassy spokesperson, when contacted by the Samoa Observer, confirmed the physical assault of a Japanese national.

“The report is true. On 18 July a Japanese was assaulted by two Samoans at the construction site of new Vaisigano Bridge. The two Samoans were arrested by the police. The Japanese victim was medically checked and fortunately not seriously injured,” the Embassy spokesperson said in an email response.

Attempts by the Samoa Observer to get comments from the Police on the assault were unsuccessful. 

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