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Members of the media gather in front of an apartment building where media reported nine bodies were found in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo on October 31, 2017. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

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TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese man was arrested on Tuesday after parts of a dismembered body were found in a picnic cooler in his apartment, police said, although media reports said parts of as many as nine bodies may have been discovered.

Police made the grisly find in the apartment in Zama, a city just outside Tokyo, after investigating the disappearance of a 23-year-old woman earlier this month.

The woman was seen on security camera footage walking with a man near the apartment, media reports said.

A police spokesman said Takahiro Shiraishi, 27, was arrested on suspicion of abandoning a body, although it was not clear whose body it was.

"Some body parts were found in a picnic cooler, covered with cat litter," the spokesman said.

It was not immediately clear if the suspect had entered a plea or had legal representation.

Kyodo news agency said the unidentified woman posted a message on Twitter saying she was looking for somebody who would die with her.

Police declined to comment on media reports about how many bodies were found in the house. Japanese media said there were at least nine - eight women and a man.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Michael Perry and Paul Tait)

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