Tokyo – Car Rams Japanese Pedestrians During New Years Celebrations

 In Foreign

Kazuhiro Kusakabe, a 21 year old Japanese man, was detained after ramming his car into a crowd of pedestrians on Takeshita Street, injuring nine. The revelers had been celebrating New Years. The incident occurred in a famous tourist district of Tokyo – the Japanese youth district of Harajuku, which is not far from the Meiji Shrine.

Takeshita Street was closed for the holiday. Kusakabe allegedly rammed his car into the pedestrians on purpose at around 12:10 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Initially, he said he did it as a terrorist attack, but later changed his story to claim that he was angry with the death penalty that was placed against AUM Doomsday cult members. The Doomsday cult members who released sarin gas into a Tokyo subway were executed in July.

TV Asahi reported that a large amount of kerosene was found inside the suspect’s vehicle. Traces of the kerosene were also found on his clothing.

Screenshot of Twitter photo

The Straits Times reported,

Kusakabe, whose occupation is unknown, knocked down eight men aged between 19 and 51 as he drove through about a third of the 350m street, which was closed to vehicular traffic at the time. He came to a stop when he crashed the rented vehicle into a building. The vehicle bore an Osaka license plate.

One of those injured, a 19-year-old undergraduate, remains unconscious in critical condition in hospital. Four others suffered severe injuries such as fractures and head injuries, while the remaining three suffered minor bruises.

The ninth victim, a 19-year-old man, was assaulted by Kusakabe after he fled on foot. He was arrested 20 minutes later at the nearby Yoyogi Park.


Featured photo: screenshot via TV Asahi

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Paul whelanUNESCO