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Man to have psychiatric test over knife incident at prince's school

This photo taken in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward on April 27, 2019, shows Ochanomizu University Junior High School, where Prince Hisahito is a pupil. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A 56-year-old man arrested on suspicion of placing knives on Prince Hisahito's school desk in Tokyo last month will undergo a psychiatric examination, 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 on 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 Japan's imperial system, telling them he intended to stab the 12-year-old heir to the throne.

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 entered the junior high school claiming to be a plumber.

The incident occurred as Japan was preparing to celebrate the historic imperial succession, with former Emperor Akihito abdicating on April 30 and Emperor Naruhito ascending the throne the day after.

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

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