Violent crime is rare in Japan, which has a low homicide rate and some of the toughest gun laws in the world, but the country has been rocked by several horrific attacks in recent decades.
FROM nation now, living through the death of former prime minister Shinzo Abe after he was shot dead at a campaign event on Friday, here is a rundown of some of the worst recent attacks in this known safe country:
– 2021: hospital fire, train storm –
In December 2021, an arson attack on a psychiatric clinic in Osaka killed 25 people, with the victims trapped inside a ward on the fourth floor of a narrow commercial building.
The arson suspect, a 61-year-old man, a former patient, died in hospital a few days later.
The past year also saw a spate of attacks on and around Japan’s rail network, including an attack in Tokyo on Halloween when a 24-year-old man allegedly stabbed and set a passenger on fire while wearing clothing resembling the comic book villain The Joker. .
– 2019: Arson Kyoto Animation –
The deadliest violent crime in Japan in recent memory was the burning of an animation studio in Kyoto, which killed 36 people.
Many of those killed in the fire at Kyoto Animation in July 2019 were young employees, and the three-story building fire rocked the global anime industry.
Suspect Shinji Aoba was charged with murder after nearly dying from severe burns sustained in a fire.
Deadly fires are unusual in Japan, where strict building standards apply. Arson was also suspected in an explosion and fire at a nightclub in Tokyo’s central Shinjuku district in 2001, which killed 44 people, but the culprit could not be found.
– 2016: Stabbing Sagamihara –
A Japanese man was sentenced to death for stabbing 19 people with disabilities in a nursing home in July 2016.
Satoshi Uematsu, a former employee of the facility, never disputed his involvement in the horrific rampage, but his lawyers claimed he had a “mental disorder” associated with marijuana use.
After the horrific attack in Sagamihara, southwest of Tokyo, Uematsu reportedly claimed he was targeting people with disabilities because they “only create misfortune.”
A previous massacre in the Tokyo area of Akihabara in 2008 forced Japan to tighten knife laws. In the attack, a disgruntled auto worker rammed a rented truck into pedestrians and then stabbed people at random with a double-edged dagger, killing seven.
– 2007: shooting of the mayor of Nagasaki –
The last assassination of a high-ranking Japanese politician took place in 1960, when Inejiro Asanuma, leader of the Japanese Socialist Party, was stabbed to death by a right-wing youth.
But in April 2007, the mayor of Nagasaki, Ikcho Ito, was shot dead by yakuza mobsters while he was campaigning for re-election.
– 1995: Iconic gas attack –
This happened almost three decades ago, but it still remains Japan’s most notorious attack: in March 1995, the doomsday sect Aum Shinrikyo released toxic sarin gas into the Tokyo subway network, killing 13 people and infecting thousands more.
The chemical was released in liquid form at five locations during rush hour, making it difficult for passengers to breathe from the trains.
This sparked a crackdown on the cult’s headquarters near Mount Fuji, where authorities discovered a plant capable of producing enough sarin to kill millions.
A total of 13 Aum members, including the nearly blind cult leader Shoko Asahara, were executed for this crime.