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TOKYO âTwo people, including a 12-year-old girl, were killed and 16 more children injured in a wave of stabbing in Japan on Tuesday – a rare act of public violence in a country considered one of the safest in the world.
The attack took place near a park in Kawasaki City, about 13 miles from Tokyo, authorities said.
Kawasaki Police said a total of 19 people were stabbed, including the two victims who died. Police said the slain girl was named Hanako Kuribayashi and a male victim named Satoshi Oyama, a 39-year-old government employee.
The alleged attacker also died from a “self-inflicted injury”, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported. Police officers previously told NHK that the man, who is believed to be between 40 and 50, stabbed himself in the neck.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the attack was “heartbreaking”.
“We must ensure the safety of our children at all costs,” Abe told reporters. âI have called on the ministers concerned to take immediate action to ensure the safety of children when they go and leave school.
NHK reported earlier Tuesday that three people – including an elementary school student – were in critical condition. It is not known if the deceased girl was one of them.
Japan is considered one of the safest developed countries in the world. It has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Several locals said they were shocked that such an attack could take place in what is usually a quiet town.
Kosuzu Sunayama, 26, who lives near where the stabbing took place, said she could hear screams from her home.
âIt’s not the kind of place to have such an incident. It’s not the kind of place to get such horrible news, âSunayama said. “I feel sick.”
Mass stabbing is extremely rare in Japan. In 2016, 19 people were killed in a wave of stabbing at a disabled care home – the deadliest massacre in Japan since the end of World War II.
Japan also strictly regulates guns, and it’s illegal for people to carry a pocket knife, craft knife, hunting knife or cutter in public, according to the US State Department.
Tuesday’s incident took place during US President Donald Trump’s visit to the country. Speaking aboard a Japanese helicopter carrier, Trump said the American people mourn the families of the victims.
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