A woman repeatedly stabbed two of her daughter's kindergarten classmates with a sashimi knife yesterday, leaving them to die on a remote country road in the ricefields of western Japan, police said.
The 34-year-old Chinese woman, who was supposed to drive the two five-year-olds to school with her own child, slashed the classmates around a dozen times each with the 20cm thin fish-cutting blade.
"I took a sashimi knife and stabbed them in the car," Zheng Yongshan, who also goes by the Japanese name Mie Taniguchi, was quoted as saying by police.
She slashed the boy and girl in the stomach and back and tossed them out near ricefields in the town of Nagahama in Shiga Prefecture, 300km southwest of Tokyo, police said.
"She has not yet talked about what motivated her to kill the children," a police officer said.
But a neighbor recalled that Taniguchi, who came to Japan five years ago and moved to the area in 2004, would complain she could not get along with the mothers of her daughter's classmates, Jiji Press reported.
A passer-by discovered the bloodied body of the girl, Wakana Taketomo, on a small road running through the farmland.
The boy, Jin Sano, was recovered lying in a small irrigation stream, police said.
Taniguchi, who is married to a Japanese, would take turns with other parents driving the children to school and it was her turn yesterday morning, police said.
After the killing, police found Taniguchi and her own child in a parked car 56km away from the crime site. She had a knife with blood on it, police said.
Taketomo was declared dead at 9:45 am, shortly after she was taken to hospital, and Sano died there at around noon.
The girl was stabbed 19 times and the boy 13 times, Kyodo News reported.
The children's red and pink schoolbags were dumped away from their bodies in the town of Nagahama, TV footage showed.
Japan has one of the world's lowest crime rates but has recently witnessed a series of grisly attacks on children.
In one of the most gruesome cases, former psychiatric patient Mamoru Takuma killed eight students with a butcher knife at a school in Osaka in 2001.
Takuma was executed in September 2004.
According to the National Police Agency, 94 children up to age 12 were murdered or threatened with murder from January to November last year.
In December the stabbed and naked body of a seven-year-old girl was found in Ibaraki Prefecture east of Tokyo, just 10 days after a girl the same age was strangled in the western city of Hiroshima.