Police say five people have been killed in a stabbing spree in a small town in western Japan.

A 40-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the Monday morning attacks. The motive is unclear.

Media reports say the victims ranged in age from 60 to 80 years old and lived in two houses set among farms in the city of Sumoto on Awaji Island.

Keizo Okumoto, deputy chief of the Sumoto police, said the man who was arrested, Tatsuhiko Hirano, is a neighbor of the victims.

Okumoto said major crime is rare in Sumoto, a city of 44,000 people known for its oranges, onions and Awaji beef.