OSAKA — The suspect in last Friday’s massacre at an elementary school in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, has told investigators that he wanted to “stir up a commotion” to harass his relatives, it was learned Wednesday.

Mamoru Takuma, 37, was quoted by Osaka police investigators as saying that he held a grudge against one of his divorced wives. “I wanted to stir up a commotion to harass her. (The victims) could have been anybody (at the school),” he reportedly told police.

On June 8, Takuma was arrested after he stormed into the Osaka Kyoiku University Ikeda Elementary School wielding a knife, stabbing eight children to death and injuring 15 people.

Investigators plan to question Takuma further to determine his key motives.

Right after his arrest, Takuma told police that he “had become wary of everything” and wanted to kill himself but could not. Then he thought of committing a serious crime so that he could be caught and executed, according to investigators.

Later on, he changed his statement, saying that his committing suicide would “only please” people around him against whom he held personal grudges, police said.

Police have so far found out that Takuma had been stalking the 39-year-old former wife. The woman divorced him three years ago, but Takuma has filed a lawsuit seeking to annul the divorce.

Takuma is also believed to have been at odds with his 68-year-old father, who has effectively disowned him. Police suspect that troubled family relations may be one factor behind his actions.

Father interviewed

OSAKA — The father of Mamoru Takuma, the man arrested in the murder of eight schoolchildren Friday, said his son phoned him to complain of depression and a loss of appetite about 10 days before the attack.

In a recent interview, the 68-year-old father said he told Takuma, 37, of Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, to call the city’s welfare section. The contact was a rare one between Takuma and his father. They had only met twice in the past 10 years, he said, adding that he disowned his son a long time ago and has only spoken to him once a year on average over the past decade.

“I cannot apologize strongly enough to the relatives of people involved (in the attack),” the father said. “I haven’t eaten much either after the incident.

The father, who lives in Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, pledged to donate all his organs donated after his death as indirect compensation and atonement.

The father also referred to a decades-old link between his son and the state-run Ikeda Elementary School, affiliated with Osaka Kyoiku University, where the son randomly stabbed to death eight schoolchildren aged from 6 to 8 and injured 15 others.

When Takuma, who attended another elementary school, was to take an examination held at Ikeda Elementary School, the father reportedly told him not to take the result seriously, even if it was bad.

His son became depressed after scoring badly in the exam, he said.

But university officials suggested the father may have mistaken Ikeda Elementary School for another school, as it has never held such an exam at its facility.

Takuma began rebelling against his father when he was in junior high school and later dropped out of high school without telling him, he said.

He then joined the Air Self-Defense Force and served for about two years. After leaving, he began to grow violent, the father said, noting he sometimes beat his mother.

Takuma also saw psychiatrists at a hospital and took tranquilizers. However, he kept acting erratically, his father said, citing an incident when Takuma jumped from the top of a building and seriously injured himself.

“I cut him off and gave him only clothes and money,” he said. “I tried to kill myself but didn’t for fear that family members would be distraught.”

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