Currents News Staff
A 12-year-old girl and a 39-year-old man were killed in a stabbing spree in Japan on May 28, a rare act of public violence in a country considered one of the safest in the world.
17 others were wounded when the attacker assaulted a crowd near a park in the city of Kawasaki, south of Tokyo. Most of the victims were girls from a Catholic elementary school who were lined up at a bus stop near the park when a man in his 50s began slashing them with knives.
Police say the attacker died from a “self-inflicted wound” as he was being detained, according to police reports from Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
The Kawasaki fire department has reported that 16 elementary school students and three adults were injured.
Victims were taken to four different hospitals. A spokesperson at the Nippon Medical School Musashi Kosugi Hospital confirmed the deaths of the victims.
“It was horrifying incident,” said Yoshihide Suga, the Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan.
NHK reported earlier Tuesday that three people, including an elementary school student, were in critical condition. It is unclear if the girl who died was among them.
Japan is considered one of the world’s safest developed countries, boasting one of the world’s lowest homicide rates, according to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime.
Mass stabbings are extremely rare.
In 2016, 19 people were killed in a stabbing spree at a care home for disabled people, the deadliest mass killing in Japan since the end of World War II.
The country also strictly regulates weapons, and it’s illegal for people to carry a pocket knife, craft knife, hunting knife or box cutter in public, according to the U.S. State Department.
The incident took place during U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the country.
Speaking aboard a Japanese helicopter carrier, Trump said the American people grieved for the victims’ families.