December 9, 2005

Schoolgirl stabbed to death in western Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) - A 12-year-old girl in western Japan was
stabbed to death by a man wielding a kitchen knife on Saturday,
local police said, the third killing of a schoolgirl in less
than a month.

Police in Kyoto prefecture arrested cram school teacher Yu
Hagino, 23, on suspicion of the attempted murder of Sayano
Horimoto, a sixth-grader, police said.

"The suspect has said that he stabbed the student after
getting into a verbal dispute," a police spokesman said, adding
that the stabbing occurred at a cram school in Uji city in

The girl died after being taken to the hospital, he said.

The incident follows the recent murders of two 7-year-old
girls in the space of just over a week that has pushed Japan to
consider everything from bus services to high-tech gadgets to
keep small children safe between home and school.

Airi Kinoshita and Yuki Yoshida were killed recently in
separate incidents as they made their way home from elementary
school alone along deserted roads.

The murders were the latest in a series of crimes to
shatter Japan's belief in the safety of its streets.