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THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

2008/6/12

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Grievances about family relationships and work may have triggered factory worker Tomohiro Kato's murderous rampage in Tokyo's Akihabara district on Sunday, according to investigative sources.

Kato, 25, was arrested after he drove a rented truck into a crowd of weekend shoppers and then stabbed and slashed them indiscriminately, killing seven people and injuring 10, some seriously.

Prior to the attack, Kato posted complaints about his parents on a cellphone website.

Police suspect that Kato felt so disaffected about his daily existence that it drove him over the edge, the sources said.

During police questioning, Kato talked about the frustration he felt as a dispatch worker at an automobile factory in Shizuoka Prefecture, the sources said.

Police suspect mounting frustration over his family ties and unstable job conditions may have deepened his sense of social isolation.

The sources said Kato has begun to talk about his poor relationship with his parents, whom he described as "strict."

"I did not get along well with my parents, and seldom returned home" to Aomori after leaving it, Kato was quoted as telling the police.

One of the messages he is believed to have posted four days before the attack said his "parents had forced" him to study.

Another message said: "By the time I was in junior high, my parents were no longer strong enough so they dumped me."

Kato had earlier said he felt "irritated because things went wrong" with his work.

The factory had told dispatch workers many would have to quit soon, though Kato was later told he could stay. He had a fit of temper over a missing uniform and went home three days before the attack.

Kato was born in Aomori and lived with his parents and younger brother. He was accepted to a top local school, but did poorly there.

After graduation, Kato went on to a junior college in Gifu Prefecture. He has since hopped from job to job in several prefectures.

"My life went well until I entered high school," he was quoted as saying. "After that, it did not go as I wanted."

Kato has expressed some regret for his actions and shed tears when talking about his childhood, police said.

On Tuesday night, his parents offered apologies before a group of reporters outside their home in Aomori.

"(Our son's actions) could never be atoned for, no matter how we apologize," said Kato's father, 49. Kato's 53-year-old mother almost collapsed while meeting the reporters, and was escorted into the family home.

Meanwhile, Tokyo prosecutors are considering a psychiatric examination of Kato to determine if he is mentally fit to be indicted for the crime, sources said.(IHT/Asahi: June 12,2008)

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