Yesteday, Tomohiro Kato pleaded guilty on all charges of murder and attempted murder made against him at the Toyko District Court. The murders were committed in 2008 in Akihabara, a district of Tokyo known for its comic book and video game stores.
The seven deaths and ten maimings was one of Tokyo’s most bloody crimes in recent years, and Kato is expected to receive the death penalty, though his lawyers argue he is not mentally fit to stand trial.
Kato rented a large truck and drove it into a crowd of pedestrians before getting out and randomly stabbing people. The journey to Akihabara was recorded on message boards, Kato typing at the wheel about his loneliness and job worries. He had previously written about his desire to undertake a killing spree, without getting any reaction from other users. As a result of the case, the type of knife Akihabara used, a double blade instrument, has been banned.
Kati was a keen fan of comics, anime and video games, which is understood to contribute to the chosen scene of the crime. He was arrested on the scene.
He has since written;
“I destroyed them all and they cannot be brought back, no matter how deep my regret. What I did cannot be undone. For my crime I deserve to die many times over, and naturally I will get the death penalty.”
Such crimes are very rare in Japan, the only similar case in recent memory was in 2001, where a former mental patient killed eight schol children with a knife. There have also not been any state executions since the new government took power last year.