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Monday, June 09, 2008

Akihabara Phantom Knife Killer


I was in Akihabara, Tokyo's number one electronics shopping area, a few hours after the horrendous knife attack that left seven people dead.

Media scrum outside Manseibashi Police Station

The area was quiet, with fewer people around than would be expected on a Sunday, but otherwise the district seemed normal.

It was not until I passed Manseibashi Police Station and saw the media scrum assembled outside on the sidewalk that I realized this was not a normal Sunday afternoon shopping day. The police guards seemed glum-faced and vacant as they stared at the gathering throng of press cameramen and photographers.

Inside Manseibashi Police Station, 25-year-old Tomohiro Kato was being held after his frenzied knife attack in downtown Tokyo had left seven people dead and 10 injured.

The young Shizuoka native, with possible, though not yet confirmed, Yakuza gangster connections, had first driven a rental van in to a crowd of people at high speed at a pedestrian crossing, and then got out and brutally and randomly stabbed his victims and other innocent passersby with a survival knife, until he was subdued by police from the very police station where he was subsequently being held.

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