National

Man charged with attempted murder in Osaka train platform push

Kyodo

A 28-year-old man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attempted murder after he allegedly pushed a woman and a teen female from behind on a train platform in Osaka, causing the woman to fall onto the tracks where she narrowly escaped being hit by a train.

According to the police, Akihiro Hai, an unemployed man from Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, has admitted to “forcefully touching” the 63-year-old woman who fell onto the tracks at JR Shin-Imamiya Station in Naniwa Ward on Sunday afternoon, but said he did not intend to kill her.

He denied pushing the female 18-year-old high school student, the police said.

The police are investigating whether he is mentally competent to be held responsible for his alleged actions, while also trying to determine his possible motives.

Hai’s 61-year-old mother told reporters he may have become mentally unstable as he stopped taking medication for a psychiatric condition and was under stress from trying to find a job.

The student, from Izumi, Osaka Prefecture, managed to stay on the platform after being pushed

The woman, from Kishiwada, Osaka Prefecture, was unhurt after falling onto the tracks as an incoming train engaged its emergency brakes and stopped several meters short of her.

Security camera footage showed a man in navy-colored outerwear and jersey pants running from the scene.

Later Sunday night, a man dressed in similar clothing was taken into custody in Aichi Prefecture for allegedly failing to pay a restaurant bill. The suspect was transferred to Osaka police early Tuesday on suspicion of being involved in the station incident.

The arrest came on the heels of another incident of violence on a train, in which a woman was injured Monday when her leg was slashed with a sharp object on a packed Yamanote Line train in Tokyo. Police have not found a possible suspect.

Meanwhile, a 23-year-old man who allegedly cut the hair of a woman on a train in Aichi was arrested earlier this month. The graduate student admitted to numerous other similar cases, saying he planned to sell the hair via online auctions, according to police.

Such cases have been increasing in Japan, including some that target children, raising fears that people could fall victim to violence on trains or in stations.

In January 2013, an elementary school student was hit in the head by an unemployed man at a JR Wakayama Line station in Wakayama Prefecture. She nearly fell off the platform but was saved by another man.

Station workers are also sometimes victims of violence. In February 2014, a company employee kicked a station worker off a platform at JR Ueno Station in Tokyo. The worker suffered a minor injury while police arrested the man, who was drunk, on suspicion of attempted murder.