April 22, 2018

Japan knife attack leaves 19 dead

Nineteen residents have been killed in a knife attack at a care centre for people with mental disabilities in Japan, officials say.

Such attacks are extremely rare in the country – the incident in Sagamihara, west of Tokyo, is the worst mass killing since the end of World War Two.

Police arrested a male former employee, who went to a nearby police station and allegedly admitted to the killings.

He is reported to have said he wanted people with disabilities to disappear.

The 26-year-old was named in local media as Satoshi Uematsu.

Staff at the Tsukui Yamayuri-en facility called police at about 02:30 local time (17:30 GMT) to report a man with a knife inside the building.

Reports say the attacker broke a window to get inside and then began stabbing people.

The victims were aged between 18 and 70, the Kyodo news agency, said citing the Sagamihara City Fire Department. Another 25 people were injured, 20 seriously. Both men and women were reported to be among the dead.

It appears that the attacker then left the facility himself, and drove to the Tsukui police station where he turned himself in.

Pictures have emerged of what is reported to be the steering wheel of his car, stained with blood.

The facility is set in extensive grounds about 50km (31 miles) from Tokyo. It has separate living quarters for men and women and had up to 160 residents at the time of the attack, according to local officials. Eight staff members were on duty at the time.

Mass killings are rare in Japan, which has extremely strict gun control laws. In 2008, a man drove a truck into a packed shopping district at Akihabara in Tokyo, before climbing out and randomly stabbing people. Seven people died.

That attack occurred on the same date that a man with a history of mental illness stabbed eight children to death at an Osaka primary school in 2001.

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