YOKOHAMA – A man with a knife went on a rampage aboard a shinkansen bullet train bound for Osaka from Tokyo late Saturday, killing one passenger and injuring two others, police said.
The police arrested Ichiro Kojima, a 22-year-old unemployed man, on suspicion of attempted murder when the train made an emergency stop near Odawara station southwest of Tokyo. Kojima told investigators he randomly stabbed the three because he was “feeling frustrated.”
The incident occurred around 10pm (8pm Thai time) in the No. 12 car of the shinkansen train of 16 coaches, when it was travelling between Shin-Yokohama and Odawara stations. There were around 880 passengers aboard the train, the day’s last train bound for Osaka, according to Central Japan Railway Co, also known as JR Central.
The rampage on the Shinkansen line killed Kotaro Umeda, a 38-year-old man from Hyogo prefecture. Two women in their 20s sustained injuries to their heads and shoulders, the police said.
Investigators found two knives in the car where the attack took place.
Witnesses spoke of 20 to 30 passengers including many young women panicking and escaping from the direction of the No. 12 car. The train was crowded with women thought to have attended an event.
Some of the passengers were crying as they were running to other coaches, shouting “Just keep going ahead” and “(the suspect) has a knife.” Some were holding removed seats, apparently to protect themselves.
Kojima left home in Okazaki, Aichi prefecture in central Japan, last December, according to an 81-year-old woman believed to be a relative of the suspect.
After being hospitalised to treat a mental illness, he started to work in Okazaki but left the woman’s house, where he had lived with her since around the age of 20.
“I have been always worried about him,” the woman said in a telephone interview with Kyodo News early Sunday. She had kept calling his mobile phone but could not reach him recently.
The operators of shinkansen, often praised for its speed and punctuality, also boast its safety, with no fatalities having occurred due to derailments or malfunctions in its more than 50 years of service since 1964.
However, the high-speed trains have not been immune to crime. A few serious crimes have been committed on the trains, most recently in June 2015 when a 71-year-old man set himself on fire on a train, killing himself and another passenger.
Source : Kyodo News