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OSAKA — Mamoru Takuma, arrested on suspicion of murdering eight children and injuring 15 others at an Osaka elementary school June 8, has fully confessed to the crime and expressed regret, according to police.

Police also said Saturday that Takuma told them he is ready to face capital punishment. Police consider the confession an indication he could be held criminally responsible despite being hospitalized in the past for mental illness.

Takuma, 37, earlier told investigators he had feigned mental illness after being arrested in the past in a bid to receive lenient punishment, according to police.

This time he allegedly told investigators he truly regrets killing elementary school kids who were strangers to him and that he intends to surrender himself to the gallows and has no plans to beg for his life. Takuma has recorded his feelings in writing and said he wants to apologize to the victims’ families, police said.

On Saturday, however, one of his two lawyers said Takuma wants to dismiss them over their defense strategy.

Tetsuya Nakanishi said Takuma handed over a document to a police officer stating his intention to fire him and the other lawyer, Eiichi Okamoto. Nakanishi said Takuma refused to meet with him on Saturday afternoon and handed over a document stating his dissatisfaction with the way he has been defended. Nakanishi quoted the officer as saying Takuma wrote the document Saturday after telling police he wanted to dismiss his lawyers. “I want to ascertain his real intentions by meeting with him in person,” Nakanishi said.

Police quoted Takuma as saying the lawyers were trying to prevent him from apologizing to the victims’ families and were persisting in saying that police must have forced his confessions.

After Takuma was arrested for the killings at the state-run Ikeda Elementary School, the Osaka bar association sent Nakanishi and Okamoto to defend him.

Takuma was arrested at the scene for allegedly storming into several classrooms at the school, stabbing the eight children to death and injuring 13 other children and two teachers with a kitchen knife.

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