National

Anniversary of 2008 stabbing spree that claimed the lives of seven people marked in Tokyo's Akihabara district

JIJI

Passersby laid flowers and offered prayers at an intersection in the Akihabara district of Tokyo on Saturday, the site of a deadly stabbing spree 11 years ago.

A man in his 30s from Tokyo’s Suginami Ward laid flowers with a message reading: “Ganbaro!! Akiba!!” which means, “Let’s Keep It Up!! Akihabara!!”

“I want to express my condolences to the victims,” said the man, who also offered flowers at the scene of the recent stabbing rampage that occurred in Kawasaki and mainly targeted schoolchildren.

“I want (Akihabara) to be a peaceful and safe area,” he added.

On June 8, 2008, Tomohiro Kato, now a 36-year-old inmate on death row, rammed a truck into a crowd of people in a holiday vehicle-free area near Akihabara Station and then went on a rampage with a dagger. The incident left seven people dead and 10 others injured.

Shuitsu Otomo, 42, a company worker from Tokyo’s Adachi Ward who worked at the same security company with Kato around 2003, also offered his prayers to the victims.

Otomo had contact with Kato until some two years before the incident.

“I feel guilty, as a friend, for failing to prevent the incident from happening,” Otomo said. “To prevent a recurrence of a similar incident, I want to be of help for those who have some problems.”

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