News Tomohiro Katō Apologizes in Court for Akiba Killings
posted on 2010-01-28 06:29 EST
Tomohiro Katō has admitted responsibility and apologized in court on Thursday for killing seven and injuring 10 in a 2008 hit-and-run and stabbing rampage in Tokyo's otaku shopping district of Akihabara (Akiba).
According to the Mainichi Daily News paper, the 27-year-old man said during the first day of his trial in the Tokyo Disrict Court, "Although there are some points in the indictment I have no recollection of, there is no doubt that I am the criminal and that I committed the crime." He added during his plea, "I first would like to use this opportunity to offer an apology. I am deeply sorry to the people who died, those who were injured, and to the bereaved family members."
Katō faces the death penalty for the worst mass murder case in Japan in seven years. The man reportedly struck five individuals with a truck at an intersection near the main Japan Railways station of Akihabara at around 12:35 p.m. on June 8, 2008. He then allegedly proceeded to leave the vehicle and stab 12 people on the streets. Police apprehended the suspect on a side street shortly after the incident.
According to the police and Jiji Press, a message, titled "I will kill people in Akihabara," was posted on a mobile phone bulletin board about seven hours before the incident. The message reportedly read:
I Will Kill People in Akihabara
I will come barging in with a vehicle, and if I can't use the vehicle, I will use a knife. Farewell, everyone.
Kato was born in Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan, but lived in Shizuoka Prefecture's Susono City in central Japan before the incident. He sent an apology letter to one of the victims, 56-year-old taxi driver Hiroshi Yuasa, in November. Katō wrote, "However much I repent, however much I apologize will never be enough to make things right, and since my crime deserves death 10,000 times I think I will be sentenced to death." He added that the victims' pain "must be something like the uncontrollable anger I felt when my online self was killed on the forum I spent all my time on by trolls."