2 dead as man stabs 16 schoolgirls, 2 adults near Tokyo

KAWASAKI, Japan — Sixteen pupils and two parents waiting with them for their school bus were stabbed by a man wielding knives in Kawasaki near Tokyo on May 28, leaving a girl and a man dead, police and school officials said.

The 16 schoolgirls, students at Caritas Elementary School, a private Catholic school in the city, were attacked by the suspect, identified by police as 51-year-old Kawasaki resident Ryuichi Iwasaki, who was holding knives in both hands.

Iwasaki died in the hospital as a result of a self-inflicted stab wound to the neck, police said.

A boy also sustained minor injuries in the attack, they added.

The police are planning to refer the case to prosecutors for murder and other allegations.

The incident occurred at around 7:40 a.m. on a street near a park in a residential area, about 250 meters (273 yards) from Noborito Station on East Japan Railway Co.’s Nambu Line and Odakyu Electric Railway Co.’s Odakyu Odawara Line.

Officials of the school, which provides eight morning shuttle buses for students between the station and the school, said the attack occurred as pupils were waiting for the sixth bus.

“I was standing at the front of the line of children waiting for the sixth bus, and when I finished helping around six children board, I heard children screaming at the end of the line,” Satoru Shitori, vice principal of the school, said in a press conference.

Shitori said that was when he saw the suspect, holding what appeared to be long knives, escaping on foot.

As the bus driver got off and started to give chase, the vice principal made an emergency call to police, he said.

“The children did nothing wrong. I don’t know what to do with my anger,” another school official said at the news conference. The school will close through the end of this month.

According to witnesses, the suspect slowly approached the children and was shouting, “I’m gonna kill you” during the rampage. He had close-cropped hair and was wearing glasses.

The police retrieved two knives at the scene and found two more in a backpack believed to belong to the suspect.

Of the victims, an 11-year-old girl, identified as sixth-grader Hanako Kuribayashi of Tama, western Tokyo, and Satoshi Oyama, a 39-year-old Foreign Ministry official who was the father of an unharmed pupil, died in the hospital from stab wounds to their necks, according to police and hospital officials.

Oyama, a Myanmar-language interpreter, also sustained cuts to his back, which he might have received while trying to protect the children, the investigative sources said.

Two girls and a woman in her 40s sustained serious injuries in the attack, the police said.

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