Five people have been killed in a mass stabbing in a small town in western Japan.

The victims ranged in age from 50 to 80 years old, and lived in two houses set among farms in the city of Sumoto on Awaji Island.

A 40 year old neighbour, Tatsuhiko Hirano, has been arrested in connection with the attacks, Keizo Okumoto, deputy chief of the Sumoto police department told local media.

Reports say that he was found with his clothing covered in blood, and admitted to the killings.
The motive for the attack is not immediately clear.

Police found the bodies of two women in their 50s and 60s and the body of a man in his 60s at one house in the site.

The bodies of a couple in their 80s were found in another building nearby.

The attacker lived with his father and grandmother, and locals told Jiji Press that he rarely left home.

Okumoto said that violent attacks are rare in Sumoto, Hyogo Prefecture, a city of 44,000 people, known for its Awaji onions, Naruto oranges and Kobe beef.