If you haven’t heard already, a 25-year-old Japanese man was arrested after driving his van into a crowd of pedestrians and then proceeded to knife those he struck and those standing nearby. As it just happened yesterday and more information is coming to light, I’ll let you read more on it here, here, or here rather than rehashing it all here. But as many news sources are pointing out, there has been a strange rash of knife attacks which have occurred this year. This taken from the Mainichi Daily News:
Japan’s crime rate is low compared to other industrialized nations and Tokyo, with 12.7 million people, is considered relatively safe. But stabbings, once rare in the country, have become more frequent in recent years.
In March, one person was stabbed to death and at least seven others were hurt by a man with two knives outside a shopping mall in eastern Japan. In January a 16-year-old boy attacked five people in a shopping area, injuring two. (source)
Well, yet another knife attack can be added since just yesterday afternoon. According to Mainichi Daily News, Sunday evening, a man in his forties attempted to stab a thirteen-year-old girl in the waist. She escaped with only her shirt and purse being slashed.
Well, aside from the knife attacks from this year, here are two other slashings/massacres of from Japan in the last few years .
Osaka School Massacre: (2001)
A 37-year-old man entered an elementary school and began randomly stabbing students and teachers. Eight students were killed with twelve more students and two teachers being injured. In the past, he had been caught attempting to poison the tea of teachers at another school at which he had been employed. At that time he had been released after being diagnosed as mentally ill.
It seems as if even then knife attacks were nothing new as noted from a 2001 CNN article.
the latest in a series of fatal slashings in a country that has strict gun laws and has prided itself on a low crime rate.A family of four was murdered in their Tokyo home in December, just four months after a 15-year-old newspaper delivery boy was arrested in southwestern Japan on suspicion of stabbing three neighbors to death as they slept. Two other fatal stabbings over the past year and a half have occurred in schoolyards. (source)
Coincidentally enough (or perhaps not), Sunday was the seventh anniversary of the Osaka School Massacre.
Saesbo Slashing (2004)
While this case is not a random massacre, it did occur at a middle school and a sharp object (a box cutter) was used. An 11-year-old girl student lured a 12-year-old classmate into an empty classroom, where she then slashed the older girl in the neck and arms, leaving her to bleed to death. Just last month, after four years in a rehabilitation center for children, “freedom restrictions” had been lifted on her. What that means, I’m not sure, but it sounds as if she will remain at the rehabilitation center.
And in more news on shortened sentences for murders, I came across this article just recently from Mainichi Daily Express.
A 23-year-old man accused of murdering his younger sister and mutilating her body was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in a ruling at the Tokyo District Court on Tuesday.
The defendant, Yuki Muto, was convicted of murdering his 20-year-old sister Azumi at their home in Tokyo’s Shibuya-ku in 2006, but was found not guilty of the crime of mutilating her body.
During the trial, a doctor who conducted a psychiatric evaluation on the defendant said that at the time of the killing he was mentally weak, and was insane when he mutilated the body. (source)
The prosecutors were trying for seventeen years, but due to being mentally ill, he received a reduced sentence of seven years. Though I’m not sure how a REDUCED sentence in PRISON for a criminally insane person is supposed to benefit anyone.