Videos of the accident at Kokurio Station in Tokyo on Sunday showed scenes of chaos. Passengers were seen running from one carriage to another and jumping out of the windows of the train as soon as it came to an emergency stop.
At least 17 were injured in the accident. Most of them were passengers on their way to Halloween parties. At least three passengers were seriously injured, with an elderly man losing consciousness, the Associated Press reported, citing the Tokyo Fire Department.
The Tokyo Police Department has identified the accused as 24-year-old Kyota Hattori. He was dressed in a bright green shirt with a bow tie, a purple waistcoat and pants, an outfit resembling that of the Joker – a character associated with the Batman series.
The attacker stabbed several people, then sprayed liquid into one of the vehicles and set it on fire, damaging the seats, according to witness testimonies. A video of the accident showed a small explosion inside the train as passengers scrambled for safety.
Police said the details of several of the injured were being checked.
The accused, now in police custody, was seen sitting quietly on the train and smoking. He did not appear to be in a state of fear or panic.
Local media reported that the accused told the authorities that he “wanted to kill people so that he could be sentenced to death.”
Shunsuke Kimura, a witness who filmed the ensuing chaos, told national broadcaster NHK that all the passengers were desperate to get out, adding that he jumped out of the window and landed on the platform, injuring his shoulder in the process.
“The train doors were closed and we had no idea what was going on, so we jumped out of the windows,” Kimura said. “It was terrifying.”
This is the second mass stabbing incident in Japan In the last years. Ten people were attacked by a knife-wielding man on another Tokyo commuter train in August of this year. In 2019, a man attacked a group of schoolchildren waiting for a bus in Kawasaki, killing two and injuring at least 18 others.