HIROSHIMA – The former temporary worker at Mazda Motor Corp. arrested last week for killing one of the company’s employees and injuring 11 others by hitting them with a car at the firm’s Hiroshima plant complex, boasted of outdoing the 2008 massacre in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, a friend said.
The friend said Toshiaki Hikiji, 42, of the city of Hiroshima, called immediately before he was taken into custody after the June 22 attack.
The friend said Hikiji told him he had just settled old scores against Mazda and that his attack had surpassed the Akihabara incident, in which a former temp autoworker drove a rented truck into a crowd, then got out and started stabbing people at random. Seven people died in the incident and 10 were injured.
Hikiji told the acquaintance he would be hanged for carrying out the attack.
Police said Hikiji told them he had specifically chosen the start of the shift at the two-factory complex to carry out the rampage. The police believe he intended to injure as many random targets as possible.
They also said one of the two seriously injured had fallen into critical condition.
Investigative authorities are considering whether to put Hikiji through a mental evaluation, but the conversation with the acquaintance could indicate he is competent to be held liable for the attack, investigative sources said.
The acquaintance, who had not spoken to Hikiji for a few years, said he was “extremely calm” over the phone.
Hikiji was quoted as telling the police that he planned to park his car inside the Mazda plant complex and start stabbing people with a kitchen knife. The Akihabara attacker also used a vehicle and a knife.
According to the acquaintance, Hikiji called him at around 8:05 a.m. June 22, about 30 minutes after the attack, and told him, “I’ve just settled my old grudges against Mazda. I’ve called the police.”
Hikiji stopped short of saying exactly what he had done, and when the acquaintance asked him what he was talking about, Hikiji said, “Watch the 12 o’clock news and you’ll know what I mean.”