Akihabara marks year since attack

Kyodo News

Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district marked on Monday the first anniversary of a vehicular and stabbing rampage that left seven people dead and 10 injured.

Tomohiro Kato, a 26-year-old former temporary worker, has been charged with running down pedestrians with a truck in a vehicle-free shopping section last June 8, a Sunday, and fatally stabbing passersby with a dagger after getting out of the truck.

Bouquets, paper cranes and message cards were placed at the intersection where the rampage took place. “Please rest in peace,” one message said.

Numerous passersby said prayers at the site of the rampage.

Hiroshi Yuasa, 55, a taxi driver who was seriously wounded in the attack, visited the intersection early Monday and laid flowers.

Yuasa said Kato should “tell all (about the rampage) honestly” so the souls of the dead can find repose. Yuasa said he still suffers from chest pains and headaches.

Kato, who was arrested at the scene, was charged with murder and attempted murder. The Tokyo District Court is scheduled to hold a session June 22 to decide the proceedings for his trial.

Kato, who worked as a temporary employee at an auto assembly factory in Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture, posted a series of messages on a mobile phone bulletin board warning of the carnage in advance.

Naoya Sugino, a 30-year-old game maker who was in Akihabara on the day of the killing spree, said he feels he could easily have been a victim.

“Why did this happen? I still cannot figure it out,” he said while offering a prayer.

The Akihabara stabbings took place on the seventh anniversary of the massacre at Osaka Kyoiku University Ikeda Elementary School in Osaka Prefecture on June 8, 2001.

Intruder Mamoru Takuma, was hanged in 2004 for stabbing to death eight children and wounding 15 others, including teachers, in the school.

On Monday, about 700 people attended a memorial at the school.