Japan: Nine people commit group suicide in cars

Nine people in Japan committed suicide in two groups by asphyxiating themselves with charcoal fumes inside sealed cars this week, and authorities suspect one of the groups met on the Internet, police said on Friday. A group of six people in their 20s - five men and one woman - was found dead early Friday in a car in Chichibu, about 80 kilometers northwest of Tokyo, said Ichiro Fukumoto, a spokesman with Chichibu police. Fukumoto said three charcoal burners were still smoking in the car when the bodies were found, and the windows had been sealed with tape. Authorities thought the six met over the Internet before dying together in a forested area on Thursday night. A separate group of three bodies - one man and two women - was discovered on Wednesday in Aomori, 575 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, a police official said on condition of anonymity, citing department rules.