Japanese man kills seven in Tokyo stabbing rampage


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Japanese man kills seven in Tokyo stabbing rampage
Peter Walker and agencies guardian.co.uk,
Sunday June 8 2008

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Police search for clues in Tokyo's Akihabara district after seven people were killed by a man on a knife rampage. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Seven people were killed and a dozen injured in Tokyo today when a man launched into a stabbing frenzy on a busy shopping street.

The attacker, named in reports as Tomohiro Kato, 25, drove a rented truck into shoppers in the Akihabara area of the city before stabbing and slashing at people with a knife, apparently at random.

The district, also called Electric Town, is known for its electronics and video game shops and is popular with young shoppers and tourists.

Police said at least seven people were killed and 12 wounded. It was not clear if they were all stabbed or if some were hurt when Kato drove the truck at the crowd.

Japan's Kyodo news agency said the victims were six men, aged between 19 and 74, and a 21-year-old woman.

"I came to Akihabara to kill people," Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted the attacker as telling police. "I am tired of the world. Anyone was ok. I came alone."

Today's attack took place exactly seven years after a man with a history of mental illness burst into a primary school and killed eight children. The killings stunned Japan, where violent crime remains relatively rare.

According to reports, several people were struck down as Kato drove the rented two-tonne truck into a crowd, prompting panic.

"The man jumped on top of a man he had hit with his vehicle and stabbed him with a knife many times," Kyodo quoted one witness as saying. "Walking toward Akihabara station, he slashed nearby people at random."

"He was screaming as he was stabbing people at random," another witness told NHK television.

Reuters quoted witnesses as saying Kato stopped when he was challenged by an armed policeman. Television footage showed a slight, blood-splattered man, believed to be the attacker, being put into a police car.

More than 15 ambulances were shown clogging the streets as emergency workers tended injured victims where they lay.
 
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