From this article:

Osaka police are investigating Hida on suspicion of escaping from the police station, but are saying nothing.

That was my translation until I read an English version of the story. I assumed the police were investigating but that 何も話していません suggested that they weren't prepared to talk about it at the moment. However, the English article implied that it was the suspect who was 何も話していません. Is this sentence ambiguous or am I missing an obvious clue which tells me that the suspect is the subject of 話す and not the police?

I was also unsure about my translation of ...容疑で調べています as "investigating on suspicion of ...". The reason I worry is that they surely already know it was him who escaped.

  • FWIW, I believe the authors of NHK easy news are restricted in terms of what grammar/vocab they can use, and therefore often resort to unnatural sentences. When something sounds weird, I would recommend checking the original "normal NHK" article. Oct 1, 2018 at 20:46
  • 1
    Also, it's not quite the same, but this reminds me of my own recent question about implicit subject changes: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/61817/25859 Oct 1, 2018 at 20:48

2 Answers 2


Yes the subject of 話す is 樋田容疑者, but there is no obvious grammatical clue, so you have to determine the correct subject from the context. If you read several similar news articles regarding police investigation, you'll soon notice that ~と話しています is used very often to report the suspect's attitude after the arrest. (But I admit this sentence may be trickier than the one in the original article. 黙秘 is a relatively difficult word, but you at least don't have to worry about who is doing it.)

At least in Japan, 容疑 is always used like this even when the police is 100% confident. Legally speaking, police investigators cannot judge the fact. All they can do instead is to investigate the case, "suspect," and send the suspected person to court, where the official judgement will be made. Until then, the person will be called 容疑者, and what they did is called 容疑.

  • Re: the use of 容疑, it's similar in English, where police and the media will use words like "allegedly" or "suspected". Dec 20, 2018 at 17:24

We commonly understand the subject of 何も話していません is the suspect from the context. That implies that the suspect is refusing to answer. Of course, it can be Osaka police, but in the case, we would say 警察は(それについて)何も話していません(Osaka police doesn't talk about investigating Hida).

As for your second question, even if it is obviously a crime, it is a suspicion until it is convicted in a court.

  • How to understand "容疑" in "容疑で調べていますが"
    – user29959
    Oct 2, 2018 at 8:21
  • 2
    It is "suspicion". Oct 2, 2018 at 9:18
  • 「容疑で」は原因ですか。the police are surveying him because he is suspicion と理解してもいいですか。
    – user29959
    Oct 2, 2018 at 13:13
  • Yes. It is "Osaka police are investigating him because he hold a suspition of escaping from the police station. Oct 2, 2018 at 13:34

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