On Tuesday, a 26-year-old man entered the residential floor of a facility for the handicapped in Tokyo and managed to give Japan the worst mass killing it has seen in generations. The knife-wielding former employee killed 19 people and injured 25, 20 of them seriously, at the care centre for the mentally disabled.
Japan, with its strict gun control laws, is among the countries that have witnessed the least number of mass killings in recent times but knife attacks and other weapons of mass destruction have have made headlines. Here’s a list of worst mass killings the country has had to deal with before Tuesday’s mayhem:
Tsuyama massacre (1938)
The only incident in decades where the number of dead have gone up than Tuesday’s toll, the Tsuyama massacre happened when the accused, Mutsuo Toi, went on a killing spree in the rural village of Kaio close to Tsuyama city in Okayama, Japan.
Armed with an axe, a sword and a rifle, the 21-year-old cut off the electric power in his village, strapped flashlights to his head and went out on a rampage killing 30 people including his grandmother. Reports from the time and his suicide notes suggested that he carried out the killings after being diagnosed with Tuberculosis.
WATCH VIDEO: Knife Attack Kills 19, Injures 25 In Japan
Matsumoto incident (1994)
Eight people were killed and over 200 injured in this attack by Aum Shinrikyo, a cult existing in Japan, when they used a refrigerating truck to release a cloud of Sarin gas in Matsumoto. The cult, which is recognised as a terrorist organization too, in June 1994, was targeting the houses of judges who were overseeing a lawsuit which was expected to go against them.
Tokyo subway sarin incident (1995)
Another attack orchestrated by Aum Shinrikyo, the Tokyo subway sarin gas incident is one of the gravest mass attack the country saw since World War II. The cult managed to release sarin gas on several Tokyo subway lines in coordinated attacks resulting in the death of 12 people and injuring 50, leaving almost 5,000 others with temporary compromised vision. The attack is widely believed to be an attempt to overthrow the Japanese government to establish the cult’s leader as the emperor.
Osaka school massacre (2001)
In June 2001, a janitor walked into an Osaka school, armed with a kitchen knife, and started attacking the children and teachers. He killed eight children, mostly seven and eight-year-old, and seriously injured five, including two teachers. The perpetrator turned out to be a deranged person with a history of mental illness.
The incident spurred two debates in the otherwise peaceful country — the treatment of mentally ill people and the safety of schools in Japan.
Akihabara massacre (2008)
Tokyo’s popular shopping street witnessed a rampage when a man rammed a rental truck into pedestrians, killing 3 and injuring 2. He then got down from the truck and started stabbing people at random with a knife. Seven people died and 12 were wounded in the incident which stopped after the perpetrator was confronted with a policeman.
“I came to Akihabara to kill people,” he reportedly told the police.