Thursday, May 13, 1999 Published at 05:27 GMT 06:27 UK
Stampede at curry poison trial
Pictures of the fatal summer festival shown on Japanese TV
In Japan, 5,000 people have tried to get in to see the trial of a woman accused of a mass poisoning in which four people died and 63 others were made ill.
The Wakayama courtroom was flooded with people who turned up in the hope of getting a ticket for one of the 80 public seats.
"I am not related at all to this [curry poisoning] case," Japanese media quoted Masumi Hayashi as saying.
She also faces other charges of insurance fraud in connection with other poisonings.
The curry incident caused a sensation in Japan and is believed to have inspired at least 40 other poisoning cases.
Masumi Hayashi immediately became the prime suspect when it was learned that she had already been accused of trying to poison visitors to her home.
Among the rash of copycat poisonings were several fatalities.
One man died after drinking a canned drink spiked with cyanide and earlier this week a man admitted in court that he had tried to poison his colleagues to distract attention from his embezzlement plot.
In September, a 15-year-old junior high school girl confessed to posting bottles of lethal disinfectant, labelled to resemble diet drinks, to her teacher and 26 classmates.
Masumi Hayashi's case is extremely complicated, with the prosecution's opening arguments running to 200 pages.
It is expected that the trial will take several years to complete.