Five people including elderly couple in their 80s stabbed to death in rural Japan

An unemployed neighbour has been arrested on suspicion of the killings

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Five people have been stabbed to death by a suspected serial killer who went from house to house in rural Japan.

Police found the bodies of two women in their 50s and 60s and the body of a man in his 60s at one house in the western city of Sumoto.

A couple in their 80s from a nearby property died after being taken to hospital, according to deputy police chief Keizo Okumoto.

A couple in their 80s were among those killed.

He said a suspect, 40-year-old neighbour Tatsuhiko Hirano had been arrested but the motive was unclear and no weapon had been found.

Hirano lived with his father and grandmother, Japan’s Jiji Press reported, and locals said he rarely left home and was unemployed.

Violent crime is relatively rare in Japan, especially in small towns.

Police officers near houses where a man stabbed five people to death at Sumoto city in Awajishima island, Japan on March 9, 2015.

Sumoto, a city of 44,000 people on Awaji island, is known for its oranges, onions and speciality beef.

Japanese television stations showed the victims' homes surrounded by agricultural fields.

“Normally, we get one call a day, if that,” Mr Okumoto said. “And usually it's about a bike theft or someone getting beaten up.”

Additional reporting by PA