20 years since stabbing rampage at Osaka school

A memorial service was held on Tuesday to mark 20 years since a stabbing rampage at an elementary school in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan.

Takuma Mamoru stabbed eight children to death and injured 13 other children and two teachers at Ikeda Elementary School on June 8, 2001.

On Tuesday morning, a bell was rung on a monument bearing the names of the eight victims. About 650 people, including bereaved family members, offered a silent prayer.

School principal Sanada Takumi, who was teaching sixth graders at the time, said that efforts to ensure school safety would continue beyond the 20-year mark.

Representing the students, a sixth grader stressed the need to create a society in which no one will ever experience the same kind of suffering.

Hongo Yumiko, who lost her second-grade daughter 20 years ago, stressed the importance of not letting memories of the incident fade with the passage of time.

After the tragedy, Hongo qualified as a counselor for those who have lost loved ones to crime or natural disaster.

She told NHK ahead of the memorial service that after 20 years, she still wakes up in the morning hoping it was only a bad dream. She said she would offer up a message for her daughter about what she has been able to achieve over the years.