• Kyodo


Police ordered classmates of a sixth-grade girl who was fatally stabbed here last week to put their fingerprints on statements they made to investigators immediately after the incident, it was learned Monday.

After some parents complained about this action, senior officials at Sasebo Police Station visited their homes individually to explain the move, police officials said.

Satomi Mitarai, 12, was stabbed to death June 1 by an 11-year-old classmate during lunch break at the Okubo Elementary School. Immediately after the incident, school officials canceled afternoon classes for all students in grades one to five and sent them home.

However, more than 30 students in the sixth grade were told to stay at the school and were questioned by police for several hours on matters such as what had taken place before and after the stabbing.

According to police in Sasebo, documents were written up for the statements that some of the children gave. Because the students did not have personal seals, investigators had them affix the print of their left index finger on the papers after receiving permission from the school’s principal, Eiko Dezaki, police said.

Parents and guardians of the children were informed of what had been done when they came to the school around 5 p.m. that day.