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Osaka massacre suspect Takuma not schizophrenic: psychiatrist.

OSAKA, March 28 Kyodo

A psychiatrist at the Osaka District Court said Thursday that Mamoru Takuma, the suspect in an Osaka school massacre last year that left eight children dead, did not show any symptoms of schizophrenia.

During the sixth hearing of Takuma's trial, the prosecution witness said he initially diagnosed Takuma with schizophrenia, but later determined he suffered from a paranoid personality disorder, after he conducted assessments of Takuma for about a two-year period after a 1999 incident.

Takuma, 38, was in 1999 arrested on suspicion of mixing tranquilizers into tea served at an elementary school in Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, where he worked.

In his testimony Thursday, the psychiatrist said he examined Takuma with a different doctor in April 1999 and diagnosed him with schizophrenia after Takuma complained of auditory hallucinations.

Takuma, however, appeared composed, the psychiatrist said, adding that this made him suspicious. Even after he was discharged from a stay in hospital, Takuma repeatedly returned to the hospital and was eventually hospitalized again, but failed to exhibit symptoms of schizophrenia, the psychiatrist said.

In May last year before the stabbing massacre, the Kobe prosecutors contacted the psychiatrist about Takuma in connection to a different assault case, and were told Takuma suffered from paranoid personality disorder.

The psychiatrist told the court he was convinced Takuma suffered from paranoid personality disorder, changing his earlier diagnosis of schizophrenia.

In a news conference the same day of the court hearing, Takuma's lawyers said they are planning to request that Takuma be examined again, this time by a psychotherapist, as well as undergo another psychiatric evaluation.

In a psychotherapeutic examination, subjects undergo a psychological analysis to thoroughly probe their personality and character, which may help clarify Takuma's motives for committing the crime, according to lawyers.

The examination differs from a psychiatric evaluation aimed at assessing a suspect's mental capacity rather than personality or character traits.

According to the indictment, Takuma broke into the state-run Ikeda Elementary School in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, on June 8 last year, stabbed eight children to death, and injured 13 other children and two teachers.

He pleaded guilty at the first hearing of his trial.

Takuma's lawyers, however, demanded the court carefully judge the competency of their client, saying he may have killed in a state of temporary insanity due to an innate psychopathic personality.

Takuma has a record of psychiatric treatment and appeared to be mentally unstable immediately after his arrest.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Apr 1, 2002
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