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( News.com.au ) - POLICE in Japan are hunting for a man accused of stabbing to death a seven-year-old girl, found in front of her grandparents' home.
Yuzuki Unose was found last night lying face down with stab wounds to her back and abdomen outside her grandparents' home in a suburb of the western city of Kobe.
Her mother called an ambulance but the girl died less than two hours after being admitted to a hospital, police said.
The girl "told the ambulance crew on her way to the hospital that she was stabbed by an adult male,'' a fire department official said.
Yuzuki was playing with her younger sister and friends in a nearby park after school before she was found, Jiji Press reported.
The killing made the front pages of national newspapers in Japan, which has one of the world's lowest crime rates but has seen a series of grisly attacks on children.
In one of the most notorious cases, a former psychiatric patient went on a stabbing spree at an Osaka elementary school in 2001, killing eight children with a butcher's knife.
Chief government spokesman Nobutaka Machimira said he was "extremely pained'' by the latest incident.
"I offer condolences from the bottom of my heart to the family of the victim and pray for her soul,'' he said.
Kenichi Masago , the principal of Yuzuki's elementary school in the city of Kakogawa , called an assembly to tell students to protect themselves.
Kakogawa's education board also recommended that teachers and parents escort children to school in groups, a local official said.