Remains of nine people discovered in Japanese apartment

Police said the body parts belong to eight women and one man

Remains of nine people discovered in Japanese apartment

This aerial photo shows the apartment, centre, where police found dismembered bodies in coolers in Zama city, southwest of Tokyo, 31-10-2017. Image: AP/Press Association Images

A man has been arrested after severed parts of nine bodies were found in his apartment in Japan.

Police said the body parts belong to eight women and one man.

The remains, discovered in an apartment in Zama, a city just outside the Japanese capital of Tokyo, include two severed heads.

Police had been investigating the disappearance of a 23-year-old woman who went missing earlier this month and had been seen with the man near the apartment.

Investigators believe the woman may have met the man - 27-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi - on a website for people with suicidal feelings.

Shiraishi told investigators that he had killed the nine people and attempted to hide their bodies.

According to public broadcaster NHK, he told police: "I killed them and did some work on the bodies in order to hide the evidence."

The two heads were reportedly found inside a cool box at the entrance to the apartment and the other body parts were found further inside.

A saw was found in the man's room, according to reports.

A man who lives on the same floor told the Japan Times that he had noticed an "odd smell" when he walked past the apartment in August, describing it as "like sewage."

But he said he had not heard any strange noises from the apartment.

Shiraishi has been arrested on a charge of dismembering a body and placing it inside a cooler – a charge that he is not contesting

Police plan to use DNA tests to identify the deceased, with further charges likely to follow.