A person armed with a rifle and a knife killed two girls and two cops on Thursday within the central Japanese metropolis of Nakano earlier than fleeing and shutting himself inside a house for a number of hours, the police stated.
It was an astonishing burst of violence in Japan, the place gun-related homicides and different gun incidents are exceedingly uncommon. Legal guidelines governing the acquisition and possession of firearms in Japan are among the many strictest on the earth.
The attacker, who reportedly informed a witness he “needed to kill,” stabbed a lady earlier than opening hearth on two cops arriving on the scene. It was not instantly clear how the fourth sufferer, a lady who was misidentified in earlier reviews as a person, had died.
The police stated that the suspect was captured early Friday morning after retreating right into a home near town middle. The house belonged to a local elected official, whom the Japanese public broadcaster NHK recognized because the suspect’s father. The police confirmed late Thursday that two girls had escaped from the home.
On Friday, NHK recognized the suspect as Masanori Aoki, a 31-year-old farmer, and stated he had been arrested on a homicide cost in reference to the loss of life of one of many cops. Extra costs had been anticipated.
A witness to the assault informed NHK that he was working in a area when a younger girl ran towards him, pleading for assist as a person carrying camouflage, a hat and a masks chased after her. The person then stabbed her within the again, inflicting her to fall down, after which stabbed her once more within the chest.
“I requested him, ‘Why you’re doing this?’” the witness informed the broadcaster. “He answered, ‘I killed her as a result of I needed to kill.’”
The suspect left the scene however returned with a rifle after two cops arrived in response to the stabbing, the witness stated. Holding the muzzle towards the window of their police automobile, the suspect shot twice and fled the scene once more.
About 60 close by residents had been evacuated to a neighborhood junior highschool, in response to native media, and the authorities had warned others to remain indoors.
The brutality within the rising particulars of the assault, together with the stabbing of a lady in public and the killing of cops, made it “a particularly uncommon” occasion, stated Dr. Fabio Gygi, chairman of the Japan Analysis Centre at SOAS College of London.
“A direct assault on police can be a direct assault on authority generally,” he stated. “There’s something very surprising about that.”
It was additionally certain to set off reminiscences of the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was fatally shot with a home made gun final 12 months, he stated.
“The shock of the assassination continues to be so uncooked,” Dr. Gygi stated. “It hasn’t been even a 12 months.”
In all of 2022, simply 9 gun-related incidents had been reported in Japan, which has a inhabitants of 125 million folks, according to the National Police Agency. 4 folks died from gun crime in that interval.
Firearms aren’t permitted within the nation, in precept, with exceptions for searching. To acquire a license, an individual should go through a 12-step course of — a laborious and costly course of that few folks undertake.
It features a gun-safety class, passing a written examination and getting a physician to log off on the bodily and psychological well being of the gun purchaser. Gun patrons should cross an intensive background examine and a police inspection of the gun secure and ammunition locker used to retailer the weapons.