Date
24 May 2017
A police officer stands guard in front of  the facility where the deadly knife attack took place on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters
A police officer stands guard in front of the facility where the deadly knife attack took place on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Nineteen feared dead after knife attack in Japan

Nineteen people were feared dead and 45 injured after an attack by a knife-wielding man at a facility for the disabled in Japan early on Tuesday, national broadcaster NHK reported.

Police in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, about 40 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, have arrested Satoshi Uematsu, a 26-year old former employee at the facility, Reuters said, citing Japanese media reports.

They said staff called police at 2:30 a.m. local time with reports of a man armed with a knife on the grounds of the Tsukui Yamayuri-En facility.

The three-hectare facility, established by the local government and nestled on the wooded bank of the Sagami River, cares for people with a wide range of disabilities, NHK said, quoting an unidentified employee.

Media reports said the man, wearing a black T-shirt, did not have a knife when he turned himself in at a nearby police station. Police said they were still investigating possible motives.

Asahi Shimbun reported that the suspect was quoted by police as saying: “I want to get rid of the disabled from this world.”

Fifteen people were confirmed dead while four were in cardiac arrest, the media reports said.

Kyodo, citing the facility’s website, said the center had a maximum capacity of 150 people.

Such mass killings are rare in Japan. Eight children were stabbed to death at their school by a former janitor in 2001.

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RA/CG

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