National

Motive for Akihabara massacre hinted at

Kyodo News

Tomohiro Kato told the Tokyo District Court on Tuesday that he was “fully responsible” for the 2008 vehicle and stabbing massacre in Tokyo’s Akihabara district and said he had been harassed on a mobile phone bulletin board in the leadup to the attack.

Kato, 27, a former temporary worker, made the remarks in response to questions posed by his lawyers. He is on trial for the random killing of seven people and wounding of 10 others on June 8, 2008, when he drove into a crowd with a rented truck and then started stabbing people before being subdued.

Asked why he went on the rampage, Kato said: “There are three reasons. One is my own thinking. The two others are harassment against me on the bulletin board, and my way of life, which was deeply dependent on the board.

“There was someone who passed himself off as me (on the bulletin board), and there was harassment (against me) there,” he told the court. “I believed my intention to stop the harassment would be conveyed if my crime was reported.”

Asked what he meant by his “way of thinking,” Kato said he wanted to “take action” to make others understand his feelings.

Apologizing to the victims, Kato said he wanted to clarify why he committed the crime so such a massacre would never happen again.

He also referred to childhood problems he had with his mother, claiming she pushed him into a bathtub because he wasn’t good at arithmetic.

“I was also told to pick up rice on the floor and eat it, and I tried so hard to do that,” Kato said.

But when his lawyer asked if childhood strains with his mother were part of the reasons for the crime, Kato said he doesn’t intend to blame her or try to evade responsibility.

Tuesday’s session was the 16th in Kato’s trial.

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