Tokyo: A 15-year-old Japanese schoolgirl has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a classmate and dismembering her body.

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The suspect, whose name has not been released, admitted strangling the victim and severing her head and left hand, Kyodo news agency reported on Sunday.

She allegedly delivered blows to the head of 15-year-old Aiwa Matsuo with a metal instrument before strangling her in the city of Sasebo, in Nagasaki Prefecture, south-west Japan.

The victim’s body was found on a bed in the suspect’s apartment early on Sunday and investigators discovered tools nearby, reports said.

The suspect, who lived away from her parents though in the same city, told police she acted alone, the news agency reported.

Matsuo had reportedly gone out to meet friends on Saturday afternoon but her parents notified police when she failed to return at night.

The two girls graduated from the same high school.

Violent crime is still relatively rare in Japan but several high-profile cases in recent years have heightened concern.

The city of Sasebo made headlines in 2004 when a primary schoolgirl stabbed her classmate to death.

In 2008 a man went on a stabbing rampage in a crowded Tokyo shopping street, killing seven people and wounding a dozen others.