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Thursday, 27 December, 2001, 06:31 GMT
Japan stabbing suspect pleads guilty
Parents take children home after school attack
The attack led to calls for tighter security at schools
A man accused of stabbing eight children to death at a school in the Japanese city of Osaka has pleaded guilty.


It is true that I fatally stabbed children and others with a kitchen knife

Mamoru Takuma
In his first court hearing, Mamoru Takuma, 38, also pleaded guilty to injuring 13 other children and two teachers at the Ikeda elementary school last June.

Mr Takuma is reported to have told his lawyers not to contest the charges and to have asked to be executed as soon as possible.

But defence lawyers told the court that their client suffered from a congenital mental illness and may not have been able to distinguish right from wrong at the time of the attack.

The rampage led to calls for tighter security at schools and tougher laws on crimes committed by the mentally ill.

Previous arrest

Mr Takuma is reported to have entered the Ikeda school unopposed.

Court illustration of Mamoru Takuma
Takuma has said he wants to be executed soon
Pupils said the attacker climbed into one classroom, slashing children and teachers before moving on to another.

"He came straight to us and stabbed the teacher [who] did not say anything and collapsed," one of the pupils said.

Police said he used a knife with a 15cm blade.

Two teachers wrestled him down before police arrived to arrest Mr Takuma, who was also injured.

The seven girls and a boy were all aged between six and eight.

Mr Takuma had already been arrested in March 1999, accused of putting tranquillisers into the tea of some teachers at a school where he used to work as a janitor.

He was not prosecuted because he was under treatment for a mental condition.

See also:

08 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
Japan shock at school killings
08 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
Violent crime stalks Japan's youth
08 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Japan school massacre
23 Mar 99 | Correspondents
Disorder in Japan's schools
17 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Teen bat rampage shocks Tokyo
03 May 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Japan
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