Kyoto Animation studio arson: Other serious attacks in Japan

Despite having one of the lowest crime rates in the world, Japan has witnessed some shocking crimes, including the stabbing attack in Kawasaki, May 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

Thursday's (July 18) suspected arson at Kyoto Animation studio has killed at least 13, with dozens more injured. It is one of Japan's deadliest non-terror incidents in peacetime. Despite having one of the lowest crime rates in the world, the country has witnessed some shocking crimes:


In May, a man stabbed 16 people, including 13 schoolchildren, at a bus stop in the city of Kawasaki, a suburb south-west of Tokyo. One of the schoolchildren and an older man were killed in the attack. The attacker later stabbed himself in the neck and died from his injuries.


In 2017, police found nine human heads and 240 bones in 27-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi's 13.5 sq m apartment in Zama city, an hour's drive from central Tokyo.

Shiraishi had lured his despondent victims via Twitter, claiming to be a suicide expert who could help them end their lives.

Eight of the nine victims were women, mainly in their late teens to early 20s, while the ninth was the boyfriend of a victim. Shiraishi said his motives were sex and money.


In 2016, Satoshi Uematsu, then 26, went on a stabbing rampage at a home for the disabled in Sagamihara, north of Tokyo.

Uematsu, who had worked at the care facility but was sacked for his radical thoughts, said he wanted to "cleanse society of imperfection" and had even written to the Cabinet Office about his Hitler-inspired ideologies.

The attack left 19 dead and 26 others injured in what remains the bloodiest crime in post-war Japan.


In 2008, Tomohiro Kato, then 25, killed seven people and injured 10 others in Akihabara, Tokyo's popular electronic goods area, when he rammed his truck into a crowd, before alighting and going on a stabbing spree.

Kato, who was mired in poverty and had been sacked from his temporary job, said he was "lower than trash because at least the trash gets recycled".


In 2001, Mamoru Takuma, then 37, entered Ikeda Elementary School in Osaka and began stabbing pupils and teachers at random with a kitchen knife.

Eight pupils died, while a further 13 children and two teachers were severely wounded.

The case resulted in schools beefing up their security measures. Takuma, a former janitor at another school, was executed in 2004.

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