Sunday, June 8, 2008

Japanese killer 'wrote of stabbing spree on internet'

Police say a disturbed comic-book fan who killed seven people in a stabbing frenzy in downtown Tokyo had advertised what he was going to do on an internet bulletin board.

As stunned mourners placed flowers, sweets and comic-book images at a makeshift shrine, new details have emerged of how he kept a detailed log of his plans to wreak havoc in Akihabara, the hub of Tokyo's comic-book subculture.

The assailant behind Japan's deadliest crime in seven years, 25-year-old Tomohiro Kato, worked on a temporary contract at an auto components factory in central Shizuoka prefecture, police said.

On Sunday, he drove a rented two-tonne truck some 100 kilometres from the town of Susuno to Tokyo, swerving the vehicle into pedestrians before bursting out and stabbing at random with a butcher's knife.

He told police he was "tired of living" and had no motive other than to kill people - anyone he found.

Kato reportedly had a strong interest in comic-book and video-game subculture.

In a school yearbook in which graduating students were asked to describe their personalities, Kato enclosed a picture of an action hero and simply wrote the word "curt," a television report said.

He admitted to police that he documented his journey on internet bulletin boards posted from his mobile phone, a police official said.

"I'll crash my vehicle into people and if the vehicle becomes useless, I'll get out a knife. Goodbye everyone!" one posting said hours before the crime, as quoted by Japanese media.

On a different site, an anonymous posting on May 27 was entitled "A disaster in Akihabara" and warned that an incident would take place on June 5.

Around the crime scene, overnight rain had washed away the bloodstains from the streets of the electronics district, where residents placed flowers and pressed their hands in prayer at a makeshift shrine set amid the neon signs.

In the Japanese tradition, mourners left offerings at the shrine including sweets, coffee, beer and - in a twist befitting Akihabara - comic-book images of action heroes.

"I left coffee because I think that some of the victims will need coffee in the morning," Ukyo Murakami, a 14-year-old boy said on his way to school.

"I'm afraid he did this because he played video games. But he should have known that in life, you can't hit the restart button."

Businesswoman Tomoko Iizuka, 58, was sobbing as she paid her respects with a bouquet of flowers on her way to work.

"The victims included young people with a bright future. Why did he do such a crazy thing?" she said.

"It's all his fault. He deserves the death penalty."


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