• Kyodo


Police arrested a 32-year-old unemployed man Tuesday on suspicion of fatally stabbing a 7-year-old girl from Tochigi Prefecture in December 2005.

Investigators said Takuya Katsumata from Kanuma, in the same prefecture, has admitted to killing Yuki Yoshida, a first-grader at Osawa Elementary School in Imaichi.

“There is no doubt that I killed (her),” Katsumata was quoted by the police as saying. “What I can say now is that I am sorry.”

Police arrested him after finding an image of a girl resembling Yuki on Katsumata’s computer.

The girl went missing on Dec. 1, 2005, after parting from schoolmates around 2:50 p.m. on her way home from school. Her body was found the next day in a forest in neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture with multiple stab wounds, including to her chest. The forest is about 60 km from Imaichi.

Police said Katsumata was familiar with the site where the body was found, since he had visited the area several times. He said he got rid of the murdered girl’s belongings as well, according to police.

Katsumata allegedly confessed to the murder during questioning for a different incident for which he was arrested on Jan. 29. He had been found with fake branded goods which he had planned to sell and was facing trial for violating trademark law.

The weapon used in the 2005 murder has never been discovered. Sources quoted the suspect as allegedly saying he had disposed of it a long time ago.

Police said they seized a number of images of young girls from his home.

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