A knife-wielding man went on a rampage at a care centre for the mentally disabled in which at least 19 people were killed in Japan, officials said. Another 25 were wounded, 20 of them seriously, in the attack in Sagamihara city, 50 kilometres west of Tokyo, a local fire department spokesman said. The facility, called the Tsukui Yamayuri-en, is home to about 150 adult residents who have mental disabilities.
The alleged assailant turned himself in after 3:00 am (1800 GMT Monday), admitting he had carried out the attack, police in Sagamihara said. He left the knife in his car when he entered the station. He has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and trespassing. Officials in Kanagawa prefecture, which borders Tokyo, identified the suspect as Satoshi Uematsu, and said he had worked at the facility until February.
He entered the building about 2:10 a.m. by breaking a glass window on the first floor of a residential building at the facility, Shinya Sakuma, head of prefectural health and welfare division, said at a news conference.
Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa expressed his condolences to the victims.
According to police, the suspect said: “The disabled should all disappear.”
“Doctors confirmed the deaths of 19 people,” the fire department official said.
A woman who lives across from the facility said that she saw police cars enter the facility around 3:30 a.m. "I was told by a policeman to stay inside my house, as it could be dangerous," she said. "Then ambulances began arriving, and blood-covered people were taken away."
Japanese broadcaster NTV reported that Uematsu was upset because he had been fired, but that could not be independently confirmed.
Japan has one of the lowest rates of violent crime in the developed world, and attacks involving weapons of any kind are unusual. But the country has seen outbursts of random as well as planned violence.