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67 knife frenzies in 10 yrs; Akihabara worst postwar street stabbing

Sunday's street stabbings in Akihabara, Tokyo, in which seven people were killed, is the worst case of its kind since the war in terms of the number of deaths.

According to the National Police Agency, there were eight cases of random street assault last year, twice as many as in 2006.

This year, there have been at least five cases, the NPA said.

On March 23, a 24-year-old man wanted by the police killed one person and injured seven others after running amok with a knife in and around Arakawaoki Station on the JR Joban Line in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture. After being arrested, the man reportedly told police: "I wanted to kill seven or eight people. I didn't care who they were."

In May, a 40-year-old man assaulted two boys and a woman in Osaka and Kyoto before later being arrested in Saitama Prefecture.

On Jan. 5, a 16-year-old male second-year student at a private high school slashed at passersby in the Togoshi Ginza commercial street in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, and was held for attempted murder. The youth reportedly told police: "I wanted to massacre people. I didn't care who they were."

According to the NPA, there were 67 multiple stabbing rampages between 1998 and 2007.

Among these was a Sept. 8, 1999, incident in Tokyo in which a 23-year-old man claimed two lives after stabbing eight people, including shoppers, on a street in Ikebukuro.

Later the same month, a 35-year-old man killed five people and injured another 10 after driving a car into JR Shimonoseki Station in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture. The man reportedly told police, "No matter what I did, it never turned out well, which made me bitter toward society."

On June 17, 1981, a 29-year-old man stabbed to death four people, including young children, in Fukagawa, Koto Ward, Tokyo, in an incident known as the "Fukagawa torima jiken" (Fukagawa street stabbings).

(Jun. 10, 2008)
AP News
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