An appeals court in Toronto on Monday upheld a lower court's decision to extradite a Chinese man living in Canada who Japanese police believe may know who murdered three women in a Tokyo suburb in 1995.
A lower court had decided last September to extradite the man to Japan for suspicion of illegally acquiring a Japanese passport and leaving the country in 2002.
Japanese police want to question the 42-year-old man from China's Fujian Province, believing he may know who committed the murders during a robbery at a supermarket in the city of Hachioji, according to Japanese investigative sources.
He was placed in custody with Canadian authorities last night and will be there until he is extradited to Japan.
The man's lawyer, Robin Parker, argued that the decision last year was "an abuse of process" for Japan to ask for extradition on a passport violation to question the man about the homicides.
However, the court did not agree and said that Japan has "a valid basis to pursue" the passport charge and there was no evidence of an "abuse" of the extradition process.
After the hearing, Parker said that the man can bring this case to the Supreme Court of Canada, but he had not made that "weighty" and "significant" decision yet.
If the man does not appeal to the country's highest court, the date for extradition will depend on negotiations between Japan and the minister of justice, the lawyer said.
According to a decision by the minister in March, the man can only be extradited if Japan does not "detain, try or punish" the man for anything other than the passport violation and it does not send him to China.
Parker said that there is a possibility the man could be "discharged from custody" if Japan does not comply with the minister's request quickly enough.
Tokyo police made the request after questioning Teruo Takeda, who knew the Chinese man, in September 2009. Takeda, who was executed in China in 2010 for drug trafficking, told police that the Chinese man knows the murderer.