National / Crime & Legal

Man who told police of his plan to stab Prince Hisahito to take psychiatric test, sources say

Kyodo

A 56-year-old man arrested on suspicion of placing knives on Prince Hisahito’s desk in Tokyo last month will undergo a psychiatric examination to see whether he is mentally competent to take responsibility for his actions, sources close to the matter said Thursday.

A court has granted Tokyo prosecutors’ request to keep Kaoru Hasegawa detained for the examination after he was apprehended April 29 for allegedly trespassing on the grounds of Ochanomizu University Junior High School three days earlier.

Investigators say Hasegawa has admitted to placing the knives on the desk and has criticized the imperial system, telling them he intended to stab the 12-year-old.

The young prince was not inside the classroom when the two fruit knives attached to an aluminum bar were found placed across his desk and the one next to it on April 26. The blades were painted pink, but no written message was left at the scene.

Security cameras captured images of a man, believed to be Hasegawa, walking past the main gate of the university on the same morning and leaving less than an hour later. Police said the man claimed to be a plumber when he entered the junior high school.

The incident occurred as Japan was preparing to celebrate the historic imperial succession, with Emperor Akihito abdicating April 30 and his son, Emperor Naruhito, ascending the throne a day later.

The ascension promoted Prince Hisahito to second in line to the throne after his father Crown Prince Akishino, 53, the younger brother of the 59-year-old emperor.