May 2 (UPI) -- A suspect who was arrested this week in connection to a knife threat to a 12-year-old Japanese prince said he carried out the act to protest Japan's monarchy, according to local police.
Kaoru Hasegawa, 56, made a statement criticizing Japan's imperial family after being taken into custody, Kyodo News reported Thursday.
Investigation is ongoing into whether the suspect has accomplices or the threat is part of a larger conspiracy against the monarchy, according to the report.
Hasegawa was detained at a hotel near Tokyo on Tuesday, after two knives were found on young Prince Hisahito's desk on Friday. The apparent threat took place ahead of the abdication of Emperor Akihito, 85, and the imperial succession of Crown Prince Naruhito.
Hisahito is the son of Prince Fumihito, the younger brother of the crown prince.
The two knives were painted pink and tied to a two-foot-long bar, the Washington Post reported.
According to Kyodo, Hasegawa researched Ochanomizu University, where the prince attended a junior high school on campus, a few days before he purchased his weapons and placed them on the prince's desk.
Japan's imperial family has few male heirs. Naruhito has no sons, making Hisahito the next in line after father Fumihito.
Women cannot inherit the throne, but a 2017 poll showed the majority of Japanese favor a change in the law.
The threat to Hisahito has prompted some to blame the school for lack of security.
"The future of Japan entirely rests upon [Hisahito's] small shoulders," said Tsuneyasu Takeda, according to the Post. "Are the police and the school aware of that? This time, the incident did not go further than the knives being placed. Yet, had the culprit intended, he/she could have killed or wounded him. That makes me shudder with fear."