• Kyodo


Police on Thursday found a knife believed to have been used in the murder of a 17-year-old girl Wednesday in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, in the car of a man arrested as a suspect in the case.

Investigators discovered the knife in the minivehicle of Hidemasa Hiraguri, 27, following statements he made after turning himself in at a police station Wednesday, the police said.

Hiraguri was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of killing Maki Otake, a third-year student at Mishima High School, affiliated with Nihon University.

Otake was found with more than 20 stab wounds to her chest, abdomen and face in a bicycle parking area near JR Numazu Station at around 8 a.m. Wednesday. She was on her way to school.

Otake, who had been Hiraguri’s girlfriend, threatened to kill her when she tried to end their relationship, according to the police.

Hiraguri has served 30 months in jail for stabbing and seriously injuring another girlfriend at a Numazu hospital in September 1992. He was found guilty of attempted murder.

According to police, Hiraguri started dating Otake last summer. The schoolgirl tried to end the relationship around March, prompting Hiraguri to stalk and threaten to kill her, they said.

Otake told her family and friends that she was terrified by Hiraguri’s remarks and changed her cell phone number.

She never reported the threats to police, the police said.