• Kyodo


The suspect in the murders of seven people in Kakogawa, Hyogo Prefecture, earlier this week told investigators he had “come to hate everything in life and wanted to end it,” police sources said Wednesday.

Yasutaka Fujishiro, 47, who owned up to the slayings shortly after they were perpetrated, told police he prepared three butcher knives and used two of them to stab his victims, all of whom were said to be his relatives, the sources said.

One of the knives was found in the minivehicle he crashed following the massacre early Monday morning. A policeman pulled Fujishiro from the car, which caught fire when it impacted a bridge abutment.

Police questioned Fujishiro in a Kobe hospital where he is currently being treated for burns. Earlier reports said the burns were sustained when he crashed his car, but he has since claimed he suffered them when he set his house on fire after the murders.

Investigators plan to question him further to determine a motive for the killings. They believe he plotted the murders as he grew increasingly negative about life and felt a sense of desperation.

Local residents say Fujishiro, the nephew of one of the victims, had been violent for years.

Local police obtained an arrest warrant shortly after the slayings and plan to serve it on Fujishiro once his condition improves.

However, his hands will require skin grafts, so it will be several weeks before he can be moved to a jail cell, according to the sources.

The investigation so far has revealed that the victims all had multiple stab wounds, some apparently more than a dozen. One of the victims had a head wound apparently from a blunt object, suggesting the killer needed to first subdue the victim, the sources said.

Police quoted Fujishiro earlier as saying he killed the seven “out of a long-held grudge.” All of the victims, including a woman who survived the attack, lived in two houses near his.

Kiyoko Ono, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, admitted Wednesday to a Diet committee that the Kakogawa police response to local resident reports of Fujishiro’s violent behavior had been insufficient.

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