A man drove a rental truck into a crowd on a Tokyo shopping street, jumped out of the vehicle and knifed seven pedestrians to death and injured a dozen yesterday.
"I came to Akihabara to kill people," Kyodo news agency quoted the attacker as telling police. "I am tired of the world. Anyone was okay. I came alone."
Akihabara district is known for its discount electronics and maid cafes.
"He jumped on top of a man he had hit with his vehicle and stabbed him with a knife many times," Kyodo quoted a 19-year-old witness as saying. "Walking toward Akihabara Station, he slashed pedestrians at random."
The dead were six men aged 19 to 74 and a 21-year-old woman, the Japanese news agency said.
The attacker, identified as Tomohiro Kato, has been arrested, police said. Television footage showed a slight, blood-splattered 25-year-old being herded into a police car.
Witnesses said the attacker stopped when a policeman, armed with a gun, confronted him, who was shouting as he cut down his victims.
Police cleared the area, usually crowded with tourists and locals seeking cheap gadgets, and searched for evidence on the blood-splattered street.
"It's pretty shocking, considering that I come here all the time," a man told NHK.
The rampage came on the seventh anniversary of a massacre at a Japanese primary school, when a knife-wielding janitor and former mental patient killed eight schoolchildren. He was later executed for the killings.
Although Japan has relatively little violent crime, such high-profile cases have raised public concern over violence.
Shooting deaths are still rare in Japan, although there have been some recent cases involving "yakuza" criminal gangs.
Apart from electronics, Akihabara has in recent years also become a center for Japan's expansive "nerd" culture of video games, comic books and outlandish fashion - including street performers and cafes with waitresses dressed as French maids.
(China Daily June 9, 2008)