Japan police catch another armed man


TOKYO, AFP

Japanese police Sunday caught a knife-wielding man at a school playground not far from the western city of Ikeda where eight children were stabbed to death by a deranged man two days ago.

Police captured the 45-year-old man at Hiyoshi Junior High School in Otsu, Shiga, 350 kilometers (217 miles) west of Tokyo, after receiving a tip-off phone call from a 17-year-old boy, a police official said.

“The man was wandering around the school playground with two kitchen knives,” the police official in Otsu said.

The length of the two blades measured 18.5-centimeters (7.4-inch) and 13.3-centimeters (5.3-inch) respectively, he said, but added that the man had not attacked anyone.

“He gave us inconsistent answers, saying he carried the knives for cooking or for self-defense, and then insisted he did not remember carrying them at all,” the official said.

Police later learned the man was an office clerk at the Shiga Prefectural Police Department with a history of depression, he said.

Police sent him to a psychiatric hospital for tests and were awaiting the results.

Otsu is just 40 kilometers east of Ikeda, Osaka, where on Friday Mamoru Takuma carried out Japan’s worst mass killing since the Aum Supreme Truth sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995 in which 12 died.