By Mari Yamaguchi | The Associated Press
TOKYO – Man carrying a knife in each hand and shouting “I’m going to kill you” attacked schoolgirls waiting at a bus stop just outside Tokyo on Tuesday, injuring 16 people and killing three, including the assailant , said the Japanese authorities and the media.
Most of the victims were schoolgirls lined up at a bus stop near Noborito Park in Kawasaki City when the man in his 40s or 50s began slashing them with knives.
Masami Arai, an official at the Kawasaki municipal office, told the AP that 16 people, mostly schoolgirls, were injured and three others, including the assailant, were reportedly killed. Arai said three of the injuries were serious and 13 others were not life threatening.
NHK national television, citing police, said the suspect died after cutting his neck. Police would not immediately confirm the details of this report.
Most of the victims attended a school founded by Sisters of Charity of Quebec, an organization of Catholic nuns from Quebec City in Canada.
A witness told the Mainichi newspaper that he heard children screaming after walking past a bus, and when he turned around, he saw a man brandishing a knife in each hand, shouting “I’m going to kill you” and that several children were on the ground.
NHK, citing police, said a bus driver told authorities a man with a knife in each hand walked towards the bus and started slashing children. NHK also interviewed a witness who said he saw the suspect trying to get his way on a bus.
The identity and motives of the assailant were not immediately known.
TV footage showed rescuers giving first aid to people inside an orange tent set up on the street, and police and other officials transporting the injured to ambulances.
Although Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, it has seen a spate of high-profile murders, including in 2016 when a former worker at a home for the disabled allegedly killed 19 and injured more than 20 others.
In 2008, seven people were killed by a man who slammed a truck into a crowd of people in the electronic district of Akihabara in central Tokyo and then stabbed passers-by.
Also in 2016, a man stabbed four people in a library in northeastern Japan, allegedly for mismanaging his questions. No one was killed.