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Akihabara stabbing survivors, victims' kin mark 10th year since attack

Jiji Press

Hiroshi Yuasa visits the crime scene Friday where, 10 years ago, he was attacked during a stabbing spree in Akihabara, Tokyo, that left seven others dead.

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Survivors of the 2008 stabbing spree in Akihabara, central Tokyo, and people close to the victims are worried about the fading of related memories as the district marked the 10th anniversary of the incident on Friday.

At an altar near the intersection where the attack took place, people laid flowers for the victims and put their hands together to offer prayers on the anniversary day.

On June 8, 2008, Tomohiro Kato, now 35, rammed a truck into a crowd of people in a temporary pedestrian area near East Japan Railway Co.’s Akihabara Station, and then went on a rampage with a dagger. The incident left seven people dead and 10 others injured.

The pedestrian zone was suspended after the incident but revived in 2011, and Akihabara, known for high-tech electronics being sold alongside anime and manga goods, is once more bustling with life.

A 30-year-old company employee who took part in junior high school club activities with one of the victims, Takahiro Kawaguchi, laid flowers at the site. Kawaguchi, then 19, died after being hit by Kato’s truck.

“I used to remember him almost every day but now I do so less often and feel guilty about that,” he said.

Hiroshi Yuasa, 64, a taxi driver who happened to be at the crime scene and was stabbed in his right side, said, “I’ve been thinking over the 10 years how I can encourage people to give even the slightest thought to the incident.”

Suffering from the aftereffects of the injury, Yuasa still takes painkillers, but has been diligent in activities to convey his experience, visiting schools across Japan to give lectures and cooperating in the production of a documentary movie about the incident by university students.

“Young people have much to look forward to,” Yuasa said. “That kind of incident takes away the future of the perpetrator and the victims.”

Yuasa has been asking to meet with Kato, who has never accepted.

“I want him to seriously regret what he has done,” Yuasa said.

Kato sits on death row. The Supreme Court finalized his death penalty in February 2015.

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