A man carrying two knives -one in each hand – has stabbed to death a 12-year-old girl and a man before killing himself, in an attack near Japan’s capital that also left more than a dozen people, including several children, wounded.
Most of the victims in the attack on Tuesday morning were schoolgirls who were lined up at a bus stop near Noborito Park in the city of Kawasaki, just south of Tokyo, when a man reportedly in his 50s began slashing them with knives.
National broadcaster NHK quoted police as saying that that the suspect died after cutting himself in the neck. Police did not immediately confirm the specifics of that report. The attacker’s identity and motive were not immediately known.
Kiyoshi Matsuda, deputy director of the Nippon Medical School Musashi Kosugi Hospital, told reporters that the 12-year-old schoolgirl and a 39-year-old man had succumbed to their wounds.
The Kawasaki City fire department put the number of wounded at 19, including three with severe injuries.
The attack took place near a train station and a bus stop at a time when the area was likely to be very busy with commuters.
Children [at the bus stop] were waiting to go to school. It seems that that is where most of the people were attacked – most of them, it seems, were schoolchildren waiting to get on a bus to go to a private Catholic school in the area
At that time of the day, the children lining up for that particular bus were for the most part Grade One students – children between six and seven years old.
Officials told NHK the suspect, believed to be in his 40s or 50s, attacked people near Noborito Park in a residential area of Kawasaki City. The report added that a bus driver told officials that the suspect walked toward the bus, holding a knife in each hand and slashing at children. Another witness told the broadcaster that the suspect tried to force his way onto the bus.
The number of wounded reportedly included 13 children. Television footage showed emergency workers giving first aid to people inside a tent set up on the street, and police and other officials carrying the wounded to ambulances.
NHK also reported that the suspect stabbed himself fatally in the neck. However, police did not immediately confirm the report publicly.
Police found two knives at the scene of the crime. A motive for the attack was not immediately clear.
Although Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, it has had a series of high-profile killings, including in 2016 when a former employee at a home for the disabled was accused of going on a stabbing spree that killed 19 and wounded more than 20 others.
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