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Knife Attack in Japan Leaves 19 Dead
International

Knife Attack in Japan Leaves 19 Dead

Nineteen residents have been killed in a knife attack at a care center for people with mental disabilities in the Japanese city of Sagamihara.
Such attacks are extremely rare in Japan, which is considered the worst mass killing in decades.
Police have arrested a local man, said to be a former employee of the center, who went to a nearby police station and allegedly admitted to the attack, BBC reports.
He reportedly said he wanted people with disabilities to “disappear”.
The attack has shocked Japan, one of the safest countries in the world.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said it was “a very heart-wrenching and shocking incident in which many innocent people became victims”.
 
  Letter to Politicians
Local police have said he sent a handwritten letter to politicians in February in which he threatened to kill hundreds of disabled people. He was kept in hospital for almost two weeks before being released.
Staff at the Tsukui Yamayuri-en facility, in a suburban area of Kanagawa Prefecture about 50 km (31 miles) from Tokyo, called police at 02:30 local time (1730 GMT) to report a man with a knife inside the building.
Local media reports say the suspect broke a window to get inside and then began stabbing people.
One local resident, Chikara Inabayashi, 68, told AFP he had been woken by the sound of sirens at about 03:00.
“I was astonished, that’s the only thing I can say.”
The facility, set in extensive grounds, had about 150 residents at the time of the attack, according to local officials. Eight staff members were on duty at the time.
The victims were aged between 19 and 70, the Kyodo news agency, said citing the Sagamihara City Fire Department. Another 25 people were injured, 20 seriously. Both men and women were reported to be among the dead.
One doctor told NHK: “The patients are very shocked mentally and they cannot speak now.”
 
  Turning In
It appears that the attacker then left the facility himself and drove to the Tsukui police station where he turned himself in.
Pictures have emerged of what is reported to be the steering wheel of his car, stained with blood.
“When Uematsu turned himself in, he was found carrying kitchen knives and other types of knives stained with blood,” a Kanagawa official told reporters.
One woman, who said she used to work at Tsukui Yamayuri-en, told local media: “They are truly innocent people. What did they do?”
Officials have ruled out any link to terrorism.
Mass killings are extremely rare in Japan, in part because strict gun control laws means almost no one has access to a firearm.

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