National

Mazda attacker was on Akihabara wannabe?

KYODO

A former Mazda Motor Corp. temporary worker arrested for killing one Mazda employee and injuring 10 others by hitting them with a car told investigators he tried to copy the 2008 murder spree in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, investigative sources said Wednesday.

Toshiaki Hikiji, 42, of the city of Hiroshima, was quoted as telling investigators he had planned to park his car inside the Mazda plant complex and attack people with a kitchen knife. He was arrested after running into the 11 as they headed to work Tuesday.

Tomohiro Kato ran down several people in Akihabara with a rented truck before getting out of the vehicle and stabbing others. Seven died and 10 were injured in the attack.

The investigators also found that Hikiji went bankrupt two years ago.

The Hiroshima Prefectural Police sent Hikiji to prosecutors Wednesday.

The police suspect Hikiji attempted random mayhem using a car and a knife like Kato, who is on trial over the Akihabara rampage.

Hikiji was arrested Tuesday after allegedly ramming into the victims at a two-plant Mazda complex in Hiroshima and fleeing to a nearby mountain, where he was arrested after calling the police.

A kitchen knife with an 18-cm blade was found inside his vehicle, a Mazda Familia.

Psychiatrist Rika Kayama said the incident appears to reflect rage felt by young people and temporarily hired workers.

“The suspect possibly sympathized more with Kato’s state of mind rather than the methodology of his attack,” Kayama said. Kato was also a temporary worker at an auto plant.

On June 8, 2008, Kato, a then 25-year-old temp staffer at an auto component factory in Shizuoka Prefecture, hit pedestrians with a truck and then pulled a dagger, targeting passersby at midday in Tokyo’s popular electronics district.