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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 September, 2004, 07:15 GMT 08:15 UK
Japanese school killer executed
Mamoru Takuma
Takuma is said to have shown little remorse
A Japanese man who stabbed to death eight school children in 2001 has been executed, domestic media have reported.

Mamoru Takuma, 40, was executed by hanging, along with another convicted murderer who killed three gangsters.

Takuma, who had a history of mental illness, was sentenced to death last year when a judge ruled he was responsible for his actions.

His attack, which stunned Japan, led to a tightening of security in the country's schools.

Takuma's attack took place in June 2001 at Ikeda elementary school in a suburb of Osaka, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) west of Tokyo.

He killed seven girls and one boy, aged between six and eight, while another 13 students and two teachers were wounded.

Takuma admitted the killings and is said to have shown little remorse, reportedly telling the court in June 2003 that he could have killed more children if he had attacked a kindergarten.

But the speed with which he was executed has raised concern.

It is unusual for executions to be carried out in Japan so soon after a death sentence has been passed, and human rights groups have criticised the decision.

Japan's justice ministry does not confirm the names of executed criminals, but Kyodo news agency and broadcaster NHK said Takuma had been executed, along with convicted murderer Sueo Shimazaki.

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