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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 May 2007, 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
Japan boy 'severs mother's head'
A teenage Japanese boy has been arrested after walking into a police station carrying a severed human head and claiming to have killed his mother.

The 17-year-old went to a police station in the town of Aizuwakamatsu, north of Tokyo, carrying the head in a sports bag, Japanese media said.

The beheaded body of a woman was later found at the boy's home, police said.

This is the latest in a series of grisly killings in Japan, a country renowned for its low crime rate.

On Monday a severed human leg was discovered in a small river in central Tokyo.

In January, a 32-year-old woman was arrested after she confessed to killing her husband, dismembering him with a saw and dumping body parts around Tokyo.

'It's horrifying'

In the latest case, the boy, said to be a local high school student, reportedly told police he killed his mother with a knife during the night as she slept, and had acted alone.

Japanese press said the boy lived with his young brother, separately from their parents. Their mother was believed to have been visiting them on Monday.

The teenager was reported to have undergone psychiatric treatment at some point in the past.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki expressed his alarm at the reports. "If it's true, it's horrifying," he said.

Aizuwakamatsu is located in Fukushima prefecture, some 200km (125 miles) north of Tokyo.

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