Van slams into pedestrians on Tokyo road, 9 injured

Van slams into pedestrians on Tokyo road, 9 injured

Kerry Wise
January 2, 2019

He drove the wrong way on the one-way street and hit eight men aged between 19 and 51 while traveling around 140 meters, the police said.

A minivan slammed into pedestrians early Tuesday on a street where people had gathered for New Year's Eve festivities in downtown Tokyo, police said.

At least nine people were injured, one critically, CNN reported.

21-year-old Kazuhiro Kusakabe was reportedly arrested in Tokyo on suspicion of attempted murder after plowing his rental auto, fitted with an Osaka license plate, into people on the Takeshita Street in the city's Harajuku district, which was closed to vehicles for the first day of the year.

He is suspected of intentionally trying to kill people by driving the small vehicle through the street.

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Kusakabe told the police he had driven from Osaka and meant to kill the pedestrians he hit. He also had a tank of kerosene in the rental auto, which he planned to use to light the vehicle on fire.

The incident happened in the tourist and shopping destination of Harajuku on Takeshita Street, which is close to the Meiji Shrine.

Local TV footage showed the small van with a smashed-up front end, as ambulance workers and police officers rushed to the scene.

The road was closed to facilitate access to the shrine, which is a popular destination for people on New Year's Eve. It was not immediately clear what he was referring to.

Japan is a relatively crime free nation with strict gun-control laws.