OSAKA — Mamoru Takuma, who was arrested in the June 8 slaying of eight schoolchildren in Osaka Prefecture, has written an apology letter but was pressured into doing so by police, his lawyer claimed Friday.

Lawyer Eiichi Okamoto said Takuma, 37, wrote in the letter, “I repent of killing children (whom I didn’t know).”

Ranking Osaka police officers flatly denied they had pressured Takuma.

Takuma told Okamoto that police had pressured him into writing the letter by telling him he would never be forgiven by society unless he expressed contrition, the lawyer told reporters.

Investigative sources said Takuma had not voiced any regret before writing the letter.

Okamoto said he complained to police about the alleged pressure.

He quoted Takuma as saying that he was told not to say anything to Okamoto and other lawyers about the letter.

Police said Takuma stabbed eight pupils to death and wounded 13 others, as well as two teachers, at the state-run Osaka Kyoiku University Ikeda Elementary School in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, before being overpowered by a male teacher and the vice principal of the school.

Survivors suffering

OSAKA — Many of the children who survived the slaughter earlier this month at the state-run Osaka Kyoiku University Ikeda Elementary School in Osaka Prefecture are suffering from stress symptoms such as insomnia, hypersensitivity and retrogression, a Kyodo News survey revealed Friday.

About half of the children were still suffering the symptoms more than a week after the stabbing rampage, which claimed the lives of eight children and injured 15 others, according to the survey.

The poll covered 143 first- and second-grade pupils whose classmates were either killed or wounded. Kyodo sent questionnaires to parents of the children; 32, or 22 percent, responded.

Of the 32, 13 said their children are still showing stress symptoms, while 12 said the disorders appeared temporarily. Three said their children did not suffer any symptoms.

Asked about specific conditions in a multiple choice question, 11 said their children are overly alert, 10 cited retrogression in their children’s behavior, nine mentioned insomnia, eight cited their children’s reluctance to attend school and seven cited loss of appetite.

A total of 17 children suffered more than three symptoms, according to the survey.

Many of the parents were concerned about the future condition of their children, who become overexcited and have nightmares if they see a picture of the suspect.

Half of the parents wanted long-term care for their children.

As for safety measures to prevent the recurrences of such attacks, 17 sought installment of security cameras at the school, while 12 hoped for an increase in the number of security guards. Ten said checks on visitors should be improved, while five demanded installment of alarm bells.

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