I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Latin American literature and have been reading online articles about the tragic June 8 incident in the Akihabara district of Tokyo. The killing scenes were extremely shocking, and I cannot express enough condolences to those whose family members were victims.

What is most striking is that the attack was conducted by a 25-year-old factory temp who decided to kill innocent people on an ordinary Sunday afternoon out of rancor and alienation. As I am 25, I recognize a personal social issue on which I must contemplate if I am concerned with the future of my country.

It is dangerously easy to simply accuse the suspect of what he has done. Others believe that the fundamental problem resides in the Japanese education system in which students are subjugated to constant pressure in a society oriented toward academic achievement. Although education plays a crucial role in the construction of students’ social identity, the problem will not be solved simply by reforming the system itself.

It is vital that people establish a new perspective on human life: The most important thing is to treasure others. If you treasure others, they will treasure you, too. If you ignore others, they will hurt you. Hatred is an invisible force, and it can cause brutal killings when it explodes. This is what happened with the random massacre at Virginia Tech in April 2007. The same with the Akihabara incident: The suspect was neither treasured by his parents nor cared for by friends.

By no means is the suspect blameless. But we need to reflect on our perceptions about others. Do we really care about our family and friends? Do we truly treasure our colleagues or students?

koichi hagimoto