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Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Sunday, 8 June 2008 12:19 UK

Seven dead in Tokyo knife attack

Tomohiro Kato being arrested in the Akihabara district 8/6/08
The suspect had blood running down his face as he was taken into custody

A man armed with a knife has killed seven people and injured 10 others in central Tokyo, Japanese media say.

The incident occurred in the Akihabara district, a busy shopping area known as Electric Town that is popular with young people and tourists.

A suspect, said to be 25-year-old Tomohiro Kato, has been arrested.

Police spokesman Jiro Akaogi told reporters: "The suspect said he came to Akihabara to kill people. He said he was tired of life".

The dead include six men, ranging in age from 19 to 74, and a 21-year-old woman, Kyodo News said.

Reports say the suspect drove a rented truck into a crowd in the early afternoon and then began stabbing people at random.

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The moments after the stabbings in Tokyo

James Slaymaker, a British man working in Japan, got to the area shortly after the stabbings. He described the scene to BBC News:

"As I walked down the street, I noticed there were a lot of police cars. I noticed there was a guy literally just lying there with tape on his eyes and blood pouring out of the side of him. I was appalled.

When I walked round the corner I saw a woman lying on the floor
Kamran Zaffar, eyewitness

"I could see carnage - bodies everywhere. Some were conscious, some were not, lying by the side of the road and on the road. There were people everywhere, a lot of onlookers."

Another eyewitness told Kyodo News: ''The man jumped on top of a man he had hit with his vehicle and stabbed him with a knife many times. Walking toward Akihabara station, he slashed nearby people at random.''

Crime increase

The Akihabara district specialises in electronic gadgets and video games and is especially popular with people interested in comic books and distinctive fashion.

See the area of the attack in detail

It is also home to one of the first shops to sell personal robots and robotics. The area is often crowded on weekends.

Once rare in Japan, there has been an increase in knife crime in recent years.

In January, a 16-year-old school boy armed with two kitchen knives injured several people on a crowded shopping street in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward.

The Akihabara attack occurred on the same date that a man with a history of mental illness went through a primary school in 2001, stabbing children at random.

Eight children died and 15 pupils and teachers were injured in that attack, in a school in Ikeda, in the city of Osaka.

Early reports suggested Mr Kato could have been a gangster, though these were later played down.




SEE ALSO
Bewilderment in Tokyo after attack
08 Jun 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Eyewitness: 'Bodies on the road'
08 Jun 08 |  Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Tokyo stabbing
08 Jun 08 |  In Pictures


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