Photo/Illutration Police cordon off a gate to the University of Tokyo on Jan. 15 where a national university entrance exam was taking place. (Yosuke Fukudome)

A 17-year-old high school student was arrested after a Jan. 15 stabbing incident that left three people injured near the campus of the University of Tokyo where a national university entrance exam was about to be held.

The suspect, who is from the central Japan city of Nagoya, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

He told police he wanted to die after causing an incident because “my studies were not progressing satisfactorily,” according to sources.

Sources said the parents of the boy, a second-year high school student, reported him missing to Aichi prefectural police on the evening of Jan. 14.

Education minister Shinsuke Suematsu held a news conference on Jan. 15 to announce he had asked the National Police Agency to beef up security around exam venues. He also expressed deep regret over the incident.

Police said a 72-year-old man, a Tokyo resident, fled to a “koban” police box near the university around 8:35 a.m. and said he had been stabbed.

Two senior high school students, one aged 18, the other 17 and both residents of Chiba Prefecture, were injured in the attack on a street in front of the university’s Hongo campus, according to the Motofuji Police Station.

The pair suffered minor injuries, but the man who went to the koban for help was taken to a hospital to undergo surgery for a more serious wound.

According to Tokyo police, the two students were about to sit the entrance exam. The suspect did not know either of them. Police confiscated the weapon used in the incident.

At his news conference, Suematsu said the two injured students would be given the opportunity to take the exam at a later date.

The entrance exam went ahead as scheduled from 9:30 a.m.

Tokyo Metro Co. officials meantime said a fire was set with a firecracker near the ticket gate of the Todaimae station of the Nanboku subway line around 8:20 a.m., shortly before the stabbing.

Motofuji Police Station officers said the arrested student admitted to setting the fire, which was extinguished by station staff. No one was injured. A liquid spilled in a subway car was also determined to be a carbonated beverage.

According to the National Center for University Entrance Examinations, a total of 3,702 students were scheduled to take the test at Todai over the two-day period.