Man held over placing knives at prince's school in Tokyo disparages imperial system

Xinhua
A man who was arrested for trespassing and placing knives on the school desk of Prince Hisahito at his school in Tokyo has made disparaging remarks about Japan's Imperial system.
Xinhua

A man who was arrested for trespassing and placing knives on the school desk of Prince Hisahito at his school in Tokyo has made disparaging remarks about Japan's Imperial system, sources close to the case said Thursday.

The critical remarks were made during investigators' interrogations, the sources said, following Kaoru Hasegawa, 56, being sent to prosecutors Wednesday after being arrested Monday for trespassing on the grounds of Prince Hisahito's school and leaving a make-shift weapon on the young prince's desk.

Prince Hisahito is the 12-year-old grandson of Emperor Emeritus Akihito and is currently second in line to the throne behind his father Crown Prince Fumihito, who is the younger brother of the emperor.

Prince Hisahito attends the Ochanomizu University Junior High School in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward.

The school's security footage showed that a man disguised as a construction worker and wearing a helmet and mask had talked his way into the school under the pretense of being a plumber last Friday.

Hasegawa had found out that Prince Hisahito attended the school by checking online, investigators said Thursday, and despite the prince's bodyguards being in attendance outside the school, Hasegawa gained access to the school and found the prince's classroom.

Investigators said they had found that some wires had been cut and had retrieved a pair of gardening shears hidden at the school grounds.

They believed Hasegawa had tried to knock-out the school's surveillance system by cutting the wires with the shears, in this premeditated incident, prior to entering the school.

While inside the classroom, Hasegawa placed two fruit knives, the blades of which were painted pink and duct-taped to a 60-cm-long aluminum bar to form a pitchfork, or two-pronged bayonet, and put the weapon on the desk of Prince Hisahito.

He told investigators he located the prince's desk by referring to a seating chart in the classroom.

No written message was left at the scene and Prince Hisahito was not in the classroom at the time the weapon was placed on his desk, investigative sources said.

The police tracked down Hasegawa after he had been on the run for four days after the incident, by scouring through video surveillance footage taken in a number of different locations.

He was eventually detained at a hotel in Hiratsuka, about 50 km away from the school in downtown Tokyo, on Monday. He was thereafter served an arrest warrant.

Hasegawa was sent to prosecutors Wednesday. He has admitted trespassing on the grounds of Prince Hisahito's school and leaving the make-shift weapon on the young prince's desk.

The incident occurred as Japan was preparing to celebrate the ascension of Emperor Naruhito on Wednesday.

Local police are continuing to probe the full motive behind the incident and whether Hasegawa intended to carry out an act of violence against the prince with the weapon had the prince been in the classroom at the time he entered the school.

As yet, investigators have not revealed the full nature of the negative remarks Hasegawa has made about the Japanese imperial system.

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