Wed, Jun 02, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Girl, 11, slays classmate in Japan


An 11-year-old girl slashed a female classmate to death with a razor knife yesterday in a shocking attack in an elementary school in southern Japan, police said.

The lunchtime assault happened in a classroom in Sasebo, 980km southwest to Tokyo, an official with the Nagasaki Prefectural police said on condition of anonymity.

Police in Sasebo said the victim suffered wounds to the neck and arms. She was stabbed with a small knife with a retractable razor used to cut paper, police said.

Police identified the victim as Satomi Mitarai, 12. The name of the attacker was not released, in accordance with Japanese legal protections for juvenile offenders.

Mitarai's bleeding body was discovered in a third-floor classroom by a teacher who called police. Agents quickly apprehended the young suspect, who was being questioned.

Prefectural police said the suspect had confessed, though they did not yet have a motive. TV footage showed police guarding the school and inspecting the classroom where the attack apparently happened.

The killing was committed during lunchtime, which in Japan is taken in the classroom. The stabbing, however, happened in a class where children were not eating.

Also yesterday, a 38-year-old Japanese woman repeatedly stabbed her teenage daughter with a kitchen knife and then slit her own wrist following an argument over going to school, police said yesterday.

Kazumi Isonishi, 38, was found barely conscious in her bathroom in Moriguchi, some 400km west of Tokyo, early yesterday after her 16-year-old daughter called police.

After breaking into the house, police found the bloodied daughter lying near her bed with nine stab and slash wounds to her back and chest.

"The mother told the daughter to go to school, it developed into an argument and then she stabbed the daughter and tried to kill herself," a Moriguchi city police spokesman said.

Increasing violence in Japan's schools and among youth has been a rising concern in recent years.

Last July, a 12-year-old boy was accused of kidnapping, molesting and murdering a four-year-old in the southern city of Nagasaki.

In the same month, a 14-year-old boy was arrested for beating a 13-year-old classmate to death in Okinawa.

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