Man knifes shoppers in Tokyo, at least four dead

A man drove a truck into a crowd of pedestrians in a popular Tokyo shopping district and then went on a stabbing rampage on Sunday, killing at least four people, Japanese media reported.

The 25-year-old attacked passers-by with a knife in a crowded pedestrian street in the Akihabara district, known for its discount electronics stores, at lunchtime on Sunday, NHK television said.

”It’s pretty shocking, considering that I come here all the time,” one middle-aged man told NHK.

A spokesperson for the Tokyo Fire Department said the death toll may go as high as five, with at least 17 people attacked. The fire department runs Tokyo’s ambulance service.

Kyodo news said four deaths had been confirmed, including three men aged 19, 47 and 74.

Private broadcaster Nippon Television showed footage of a slight, blood-splattered man, being arrested by police.

The man had told police he was tired of his life, NHK said.

A spokesperson for the Tokyo police department said he was unable to confirm the arrest.

Akihabara is crowded at weekend with both tourists and locals seeking cheap electronic gadgets.

In recent years it has also become synonymous with Japan’s expansive culture of video games, comic books and outlandish fashion.

One woman told NHK she saw a stabbing victim lying unconscious in a large pool of blood. Onlookers reported the man was shouting as he cut down his victims, NHK said.

Although Japan has a relatively little violent crime, several recent high-profile cases have raised public concern about violence, leading to stiffer penalties.

Shooting deaths still remain rare in Japan, although there have been some recent cases involving yakuza crime groups. – Reuters

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