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Japan Knife Attack: Man Kills 19 At Disabled Care Home In Sagamihara, Near Tokyo, Japan

The ex-employee attacked when he knew there would be fewer staff.

25/07/2016 22:45 | Updated 26 July 2016

A knife-wielding man has killed 19 people after attacking a care home for disabled people in Sagamihara in Japan.

Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, reported police saying a further 25 people are confirmed injured after the rampage in the early hours of Tuesday morning, 20 seriously.

Police have arrested Satoshi Uematsu, 26-year-old former employee of the Tsukui Yamayuri-en facility after turning himself in to the police.

His attack on the 150-patient in Sagamihara, 30 miles west of Tokyo, lasted 40 minutes.

KYODO Kyodo / Reuters
Police officers and rescue workers are seen at the disabled care home
Issei Kato / Reuters
A prefecture government staff member carries flowers to mourn victims of the attack
Toru Hanai / Reuters
Police officers investigate

According to a health official, the attacker broke in by shattering a window at 2.10am and began slitting patients throats. He knew there would be fewer staff in the early hours of the morning.

He drove up in a black car, carrying several knives. 

He reportedly wrote to Japan’s parliament outlining his attack in February and saying he would calmly turn himself in afterwards, which he did.

The letter said: “My goal is a world in which, in cases where it is difficult for the severely disabled to live at home and be socially active, they can be euthanized with the consent of their guardians.”

Before the attack, he reportedly said: “I want to get rid of the disabled from this world.”

Others reported he said the suspect was quoted by police as saying: “I want to get rid of the disabled from this world.”

Television footage showed a number of ambulances parked outside the facility, with medics and other rescue workers running in and out.

KYODO Kyodo / Reuters
The scene of the attack in Sagamihara

Reporters and photographers gathered outside the home of Uematsu

Toru Hanai / Reuters

 

One woman, who said she used to work at the care home, said many patients were profoundly disabled.

“They are truly innocent people. What did they do? This is shocking,” she told Japanese television.

Mass killings are relatively rare in Japan, which has extremely strict gun-control laws. In 2008, seven people were killed by a man who slammed a truck into a crowd of people in central Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district and then stabbed passers-by.

Fourteen were injured in 2010 by an unemployed man who stabbed and beat up passengers on two public buses outside a Japanese train station in Ibaraki Prefecture, about 25 miles northeast of Tokyo.

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