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Japan knife attack: 19 killed and dozens wounded in stabbing

Source: The Guardian

Photo by: AP

Man armed with a knife attacked facility for disabled people in Sagamihara, outside Tokyo, before turning himself in to police

At least 19 people are reported to have been killed and another 26 injured after a man went on a rampage with a knife at a Japanese facility for disabled people in the early hours of Tuesday.

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK said a suspect had been arrested after he attacked residents of the Tsukui Yamayuri En (Tsukui Lily Garden) facility in Sagamihara in Kanagawa prefecture, south of Tokyo.

A 26-year-old former employee of the facility, had admitted carrying out the attack, local media said.

The suspect was quoted by police as saying “I want to get rid of the disabled from this world,” the newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported. Other outlets including theNew York Times have quoted him as saying disabled people should “disappear”.

Live Japan attack: suspect turns himself in after 19 killed in stabbing – live

Man armed with a knife attacked facility for disabled people in Sagamihara, outside Tokyo, before turning himself in to police

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Japanese media reported that staff at the facility called police at 2.30am local time with reports of a man armed with a knife on the grounds.

When authorities arrived they confirmed at least 15 people had died with four more people in cardiac arrest, according to media reports. Japan’s Kyodo news agency later put the death toll at 19, citing authorities. If confirmed, the attack would be one of the worst crimes in Japanese postwar history.

The dozens of wounded were taken to at least six hospitals in western Tokyo. Emergency workers said many of the injured people were in a serious condition.

Twenty-nine emergency squads responded to the attack, Kyodo reported.

Local residents and relatives of the residents rushed to the scene following news of the attack, but are reportedly waiting for local officials to release the names of the dead and injured, local media said.

A man identified as the father of a patient in the facility told NHK he learned about the attack on the radio and had received no information from the centre.

“I’m very worried but they won’t let me in,” he said, standing just outside a cordon of yellow crime-scene tape.

The facility is home to 149 residents aged between 19 and 75. Kyodo news agency said 40 of them are aged over 60.

According to police in Sagamihara a man turned himself in at a police station about two hours after the attack.

He left a knife in his car when he entered the station. He has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and trespassing.


An ambulance outside the facility for disabled people where at least 15 people have been killed and dozens injured in a knife attack in Sagamihara, outside Tokyo. Photograph: AP

Police said they were investigating the motive behind the mass attack. “We are still confirming details of the case,” a police spokesman said.

TV footage taken from a helicopter over the scene showed a long line of ambulances parked outside the two-storey facility.

It appeared that emergency workers were removing the dead and treating the injured beneath a large orange tarpaulin screen.

A resident of the area, located in a mountain valley south of Mount Takao, told NHK that police had arrested a man with blond hair dressed in black clothes.

The Tsukui Yamayuri-En facility is situated in three hectares (7.6 acres) of grounds. Established by the local government and nestled on the wooded bank of the Sagami river, it cares for people with a wide range of disabilities.

The facility has a swimming pool, gym and medical clinic, according to Kyodo News.


Ambulance vehicles and fire trucks are seen outside a facility for the handicapped where a number of people were killed and dozens injured in a knife attack. Photograph: AP

Mass killing are relatively rare in Japan, which has extremely strict gun control laws. In 2008, seven people were killed by a man who slammed a truck into a crowd of people in central Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district and then stabbed passers-by.

Fourteen were injured in 2010 by an unemployed man who stabbed and beat up passengers on two public buses outside a Japanese train station in Ibaraki prefecture, about 25 miles (40 kilometres) north-east of Tokyo.

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