• Kyodo


Prosecutors on Monday asked a court to sentence a 23-year-old man to life in prison over a random knife attack aboard a bullet train last year that left one person dead and two others injured.

Ichiro Kojima began planning the June 9 attack three months earlier and has shown no remorse over the “atrocious crime,” prosecutors said in their closing argument at the Odawara branch of the Yokohama District Court.

Kojima has admitted to the charges of murder and attempted murder, saying he tried to limit the number of fatalities to no more than two as he thought killing three people would result in the death penalty.

He also said he wanted to spend the rest of his life in prison and was “not at all” sorry for the victims and their families.

Kojima killed 38-year-old Kotaro Umeda of Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, by slashing him with a machete and a knife. He also seriously wounded two women in their 20s on the Nozomi 265 train that was traveling from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka on the evening of June 9.

“I cannot take public transport or go to places where there are many people as I am reminded of the incident,” one of the injured women said during Monday’s session. “He should pay with his life.”

Kojima underwent a psychiatric examination over a four-month period before prosecutors ruled him fit to face a criminal trial and indicted him in November last year.

Prior to the attack, Kojima had been homeless and sleeping outdoors, including in a park in Nagano Prefecture, according to the prosecutors.

Following the incident, shinkansen operators have made shields and stab vests available to police and other security personnel. They have also increased the number of security cameras to allow for more stringent monitoring at stations and on trains.

The ruling is set to be handed down on Dec. 18.

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