Page last updated at 06:16 GMT, Sunday, 23 November 2008

Arrest over Japan ministry murder

Police at a house where a former health ministry official and his wife were found dead, in Saitama, Japan, 18 November 2008
Takehiko Yamaguchi and his wife were found stabbed to death in their home

Japanese police say they are holding a man on weapons charges, after he turned himself in and confessed to killing an ex-health official and his wife.

Police said the man had blood-stained knives in his car, and they were questioning him over the murder of Takehiko and Michiko Yamaguchi.

The two were found stabbed to death at their homes near Tokyo on Tuesday.

Mrr Yamaguchi resigned his senior post in the health ministry over a scandal involving the loss of pension records.

The man, who identified himself to police as Takeshi Koizumi, 46, is also being questioned over the stabbing injuries to the wife of another former vice-minister of health, Yasuko Yoshihara.

She was attacked at her Tokyo home by a man claiming to be a delivery driver just hours after the Yamaguchis were murdered.

Her husband, Kenji, was not home at the time.

Mr Yamaguchi and Mr Yoshihara were both senior officials in the health ministry and had a prominent role in setting up a new pensions system.

Police are examining whether the attacks are related to the loss of millions of pension records.

However, Japanese media are reporting that the man said he had killed Mr Yamaguchi because he was angry over the death of a pet, for which he held health officials responsible.

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