Toei Video will delay the DVD and video release of BattleRoyale 2, which was scheduled for September, company officials haveannounced. The reason: a highly publicised recent incident in which an11-year-old girl stabbed and killed a friend and classmate, reportedly fortexting disparaging remarks about her.

The suspect, who has not been named by the media because sheis underage, mentioned the novel on which the two Battle Royale filmsare based on her Web site. "Given the current climate we have decided todelay the release," a Toei Video spokesman said.

Theatrically released in July of 2003, Battle Royale 2was directed by Kenta Fukasaku, the son of action legend Kinji Fukasaku, whohad made the original Battle Royale one of the biggest Japanese hits of2001, grossing $28m (Y3.1bn) on 2.15 million admissions. The sequel earned$16.8m, placing it in the local top ten for the year.

Both films, with ultra-violent stories about 15-year-oldsforced to kill by a fascistic government, were slapped with an R-15 rating bythe industry censor board. The first film stirred up a nationwide storm ofcontroversy, with parliamentarians and the Minister of Education condemning itsperceived bad effect on youth.

In a related incident in March, ten boys attending a Tokyojunior high school invaded the school broadcasting room and, over the PAsystem, ordered their classmates to kill each other. All ten were arrested bypolice - and admitted to the Battle Royale influence.