1st LD Writethru: Prince Hisahito returns to school in Tokyo after knife threat

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TOKYO, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prince Hisahito along with his peers returned to his school Monday for regular classes following a temporary suspension from school, after a man trespassed on the premises and left knives on the young prince's desk last month.

Classes had been halted at Ochanomizu University Junior High School in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward following the incident which occurred on April 26.

The incident occurred as Japan was preparing to celebrate the ascension of Emperor Naruhito following the abdication of Emperor Emeritus Akihito.

The school held a parents' meeting after the potentially deadly incident and, after apologizing to parents for the school's lax security protocols, it vowed to beef-up its systems and practices to avoid such an incident from happening again, local media reported.

The school said it had increased the number of security guards monitoring outside access points and those on patrol, as well as pledged to hold more safety drills to instruct the teachers and children on what to do in the event an intruder enters the building again.

Kaoru Hasegawa, 56, who was arrested on April 29 for trespassing and placing knives on the school desk of the prince, along with making disparaging remarks about Japan's imperial system, expressed his intention to stab the prince, investigative sources said last week.

Prince Hisahito, the grandson of Emperor Emeritus Akihito, is currently second in line to the throne behind his father Prince Fumihito, who is the younger brother of Emperor Naruhito.

The prince was not in the classroom when Hasegawa, disguised as a construction worker and wearing a helmet and a mask, according to security footage, allegedly talked his way into the school under the pretense of being a plumber.

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

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.

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

They believe Hasegawa had tried to knock-out the school's surveillance system by cutting the wires with the shears prior to entering the school.

No written message was left at the scene and investigative sources have not, as yet, connected Hasegawa to any groups that may be opposed to Japan's imperial system.

Following the incident, schools nationwide were instructed by the education ministry to step up their security measures.

Prince Hisahito was seen arriving at the school, along with other pupils as normal on Monday morning, according to local media reports. Enditem

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