Japan stabbing: two dead and 16 injured in attack on children in Kawasaki
Young children were waiting for school bus when they were attacked by man, witnesses say
The Guardian. May 28, 2019
Two people have died and 16 others, including more than a dozen schoolgirls, have been injured after a man armed with knives went on a rampage at a crowded bus stop near Tokyo on Tuesday morning.
Japanese media said Hanako Kuribayashi, an 11-year-old girl, and 39-year-old Satoshi Oyama, a foreign ministry official, had died in hospital after being stabbed in the neck.
The attacker, a 57-year-old man whose name has not been released, also died after reportedly stabbing himself in the neck after the attack near a park in the city of Kawasaki, south of the capital.
It was not clear if police had established a motive before he died.
The national broadcaster NHK quoted witnesses as saying the suspect had been holding a knife in each hand and had begun stabbing his victims as they waited to board a bus. Kyodo news agency said the suspect, who had short hair and was wearing glasses, shouted he was going to kill the children.
Two girls and a woman in her 40s are being treated for serious injuries, Kyodo said.
The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, voiced anger over the attack and asked his education minister to ensure children were safe when travelling to and from school.
“It was an extremely harrowing incident in which many small children were the victims, and I am outraged,” Abe said. “I will take all possible measures to keep children safe.”
The 13 injured children, believed to be girls aged from six to 12, are reportedly pupils at Caritas, a local Catholic school. Oyama was reportedly the father of a pupil at the school.
Donald Trump, on the final day of a state visit to Japan, said he and the first lady, Melania, sent their “prayers and sympathy” to the victims. “All Americans stand with the people of Japan and grieve for the victims and for their families,” Trump said during a visit to a naval base near Tokyo.
Media reports said the attack had begun at about 7.45am near a bus stop at Noborito station in Kawasaki. Police found two knives nearby.
A local man told Agence France-Presse that he had gone outside after hearing screams. “It’s hard to describe what it was like, how it sounded. It wasn’t girls having fun. It was a sound that was absolutely not normal,” he said.
“I saw a man lying on the street. I also saw a girl hunched over on the ground. There were also five or six girls, maybe they were the ones who screamed … There was blood all over them.”
TV networks showed live footage of multiple police cars, ambulances and fire engines at the scene. Emergency medical tents were put up to treat the injured.
“I heard the sound of lots of ambulances and I saw a man lying near a bus stop bleeding,” a witness told NHK.
“There is another bus stop near the primary school and I also saw schoolchildren lying on the ground … It’s a quiet neighbourhood. It’s scary to see this kind of thing happen,” he added.
Japan has one of the lowest rates of violent crime in the developed world. Mass attacks are rare but it has experienced sporadic, and deadly, attacks involving knives.
In 2016, a man who claimed he wanted to kill people with disabilities killed 19 people and injured 26 others in a knife attack at a care facility near Tokyo.
In 2001, eight children died and 19 others were injured when a man forced his way into a primary school and began a frenzied knife attack.
In 2008, seven people were killed by a man who slammed a truck into a crowd of people in central Tokyo’s Akihabara district and then stabbed passersby.
Categories: Update of Lawlessness and Violence