Woman, 79, slashes two at Shibuya

Female pair wounded; suspect says she fled shelter, is broke, wants police to care for her

Kyodo News

A 79-year-old woman slashed two women with a fruit knife Friday evening near Tokyo’s Shibuya Station, police said.

The attack occurred at around 6:50 p.m. near the first-floor entrance of Tokyu Toyoko department store’s east building.

The two victims — a 26-year-old woman from Tokyo and a 27-year-old woman from Kanagawa Prefecture — were only slightly wounded in the attack in the crowded shopping and entertainment district of Shibuya. The woman from Tokyo was slashed in her left abdomen and the woman from Kanagawa Prefecture suffered a slight wound to the left arm.

The two were hospitalized, but their conditions are not life-threatening, police said.

They said they arrested Hatsuko Kitagawa, 79, on suspicion of attempted murder.

“I ran away from a shelter earlier this week and I don’t have money,” Kitagawa was quoted as telling investigators. “I thought police would take care of me if I caused an incident.”

She was carrying around ¥6,500.

The incident shocked passersby in the crowded district.

A 38-year-old woman who works at a nearby cake shop said she saw a woman sit down holding her left abdomen.

“People around her were pointing inside the department store to the police, possibly showing which direction the suspect ran away,” she said.

A 52 year-old security guard also looked shocked, saying he has only heard of fights and quarrels and never heard of a stabbing in the area.

The incident was the latest in a string of random attacks that have sent shock waves through relatively crime-free Japan.

In June, a man who said he was tired of life went on a vehicle and stabbing rampage in the crowded Tokyo electronics district of Akihabara, killing seven people and wounding a dozen others.