The 36-year-old man accused of stabbing 10 people on a Tokyo train told police he picked an express train to launch his attack, because it would force passengers to stay on board.
Yusuke Tsushima boarded the train around 8:30 p.m. in the commuter town of Seijogakuenmae, near central Tokyo, armed with a knife, scissors, cooking oil and a lighter, The Associated Press reported. Though not far from where Tokyo is hosting the Olympics, the attacks appeared unrelated, authorities said.
His first victim was a woman in her 20s, who remained in serious condition Saturday. Eight of the other nine victims, all conscious, were taken to hospitals, while one person was able to walk away, the AP reported.
The man reportedly told police he intended to attack a woman who earlier in the day reported him to police for shoplifting at the store where she worked. When he realized the store was closed for the day, he decided to target the train. He also told police that he chose to stage the attack inside an express train, because it offered the chance to kill a large number of people.
Tsushima reportedly told police he developed the desire to kill women who “looked happy.”
After stabbing the first woman, he moved to other train cars, choosing his targets at random. In one car, he poured cooking oil on the floor and tried to set it on fire.
The railway operator was alerted and brought the train to an emergency stop. When it reached the station, Japan’s NHK public television reported, passengers, some smeared with blood, rushed out of the train cars shouting and asking for first aid.
Tsushima apparently fled by jumping onto the tracks, but he left his weapon behind.
The suspect, wearing a blood-stained shirt, later walked into a convenience store and identified himself as the man on the news and said he was tired of running away. The store manager called the police and he was arrested Saturday morning.
Japan has had a series of knife attacks in recent years.
In 2019, a man carrying two knives attacked a group of schoolgirls waiting at a bus stop just outside Tokyo, killing two people and injuring 17 before killing himself.
In 2018, a man killed a passenger and injuring two others in a knife attack on a bullet train. In 2016, a former employee at a home for the disabled hacked 19 people to death and injured more than 20.