THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
July 6, 2019 at 16:55 JST
The Saitama prefectural police headquarters (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
TOKOROZAWA, Saitama Prefecture--Saitama prefectural police arrested a junior high school student here July 6 over the fatal stabbing of a classmate.
The victim, Kotaro Hongo, 13, was found bleeding and unconscious around 4:50 p.m. the previous day by a local resident and taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police arrested a 14-year-old classmate whose home stands in front of where Hongo was found. Hongo had several stab wounds to the abdomen and elsewhere.
Police said the suspect has admitted to the stabbing triggered by a fight over a textbook. The pair attended the same municipal junior high school and had known each other since they were small boys.
A third classmate visited the suspect's home and found Hongo collapsed out in front. The classmate sought help from the neighbor who called for an ambulance.
The third classmate came to the suspect's home because they had made plans to study together for final exams for the semester.
Based on what the suspect told police, investigators believe Hongo and the suspect had been studying together before the incident.
When police first arrived on the scene, the suspect told them that Hongo had committed suicide.
But after the boy was taken to the Tokorozawa Police Station for voluntary questioning, he admitted to stabbing his classmate.
The suspect lived at the home with his parents and grandmother, but when the incident occurred the only ones in the home were the suspect, his grandmother and Hongo.
Another second-year junior high school student who knew both Hongo and the suspect was shocked because the two boys had been friends since elementary school and joined the same school club in junior high school.
The 13-year-old girl said she saw the two during recess earlier in the day and nothing appeared out of the ordinary.
"They were always so friendly with each other," she said. "I would never have believed this could happen."
A man in his 80s who lives in the neighborhood and has known the suspect since he was a boy said, "I thought he was an ordinary child. I cannot understand why this happened."
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