Akihabara Fatal Rampage Victims Remembered 16 Years On

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A person lays flowers on Saturday at the intersection where a fatal rampage occurred in 2008 in the Akihabara district of Tokyo.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Victims of the 2008 fatal rampage in Tokyo’s busy Akihabara district were remembered Saturday, the 16th anniversary of the indiscriminate attack, which left seven people dead and 10 others injured.

Prayers and flowers were offered at the intersection where the incident occurred.

“I feel uneasy if I don’t come here on this day,” said a 45-year-old company worker from Koga, Ibaraki Prefecture, who witnessed the incident 16 years ago and visits the scene almost every year.

“There was a tense atmosphere,” a 54-year-old company employee from Yokohama said of the scene he saw soon after the incident. “Although the death penalty was carried out [on the attacker], it didn’t make any difference.”

A woman, 72, who works near the site said that those killed must have had a future, such as getting married and having a family. “It was a terrible incident, and I don’t want it to be forgotten.”

In the incident on June 8, 2008, the attacker, Tomohiro Kato, rammed a truck into the pedestrian zone near East Japan Railway Co.’s Akihabara Station, hitting passersby. He then got off and started stabbing others randomly with a knife.

His death penalty was finalized by the Supreme Court in February 2015. He was executed in July 2022 at age 39.

The incident shook society as it was believed that he was motivated by dissatisfaction with those around him and a deep sense of loneliness.