Japan Knife Attack: At Least 19 Dead, 25 Injured

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At least 19 people were killed and 25 injured in a stabbing spree at a facility for disabled people west of Tokyo, making it one of Japan’s deadliest mass killings since World War II.

Officer Satomi Kurihara of the Sagamihara Fire Department confirmed the death toll at the Tsukui Yamayurien facility in Sagamihara, a residential area approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the capital.

Satoshi Uematsu, a 26-year-old who worked at the facility until February, broke in through a window about 2 a.m. Tuesday (1 p.m. ET Monday), Kanagawa Prefecture officials said at a news conference.

Police said they received a call from an employee of the facility reporting the attack, according to state broadcaster NHK.

About 3 a.m., Uematsu turned himself in at the Sagamihara police station, carrying a a bloodstained knife and cloth, officials said.

The incident sent shock waves through Japan, where mass killings are rare. Because gun ownership is highly restricted, mass stabbings and poisonings are more common, CNN’s Paula Hancocks said.

In June 2001, eight children were killed when a former janitor entered an Ikeda elementary school in Osaka and began stabbing students at random.

In June 2008, a man ran over a group of people with his truck and then stabbed 18, killing seven, in Tokyo’s famous Akihabara gaming district.

The biggest loss of life in Japan’s recent history was in 1982, when 24 people died after a Japan Air Lines pilot crashed a flight into Tokyo Bay.

The last time Sagamihara made global headlines was in 2012 when Naoko Kikuchi, a member of the Japanese doomsday cult responsible for the 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway, was arrested there. The attack killed 13 people and injured more than 5,500 people.

The cult, Aum Shinrikyo, was responsible for another sarin gas attack the previous year that killed seven people and sickened some 200 more.

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