A 36-year-old man who was arrested for allegedly injuring 10 people in a knife attack on Friday said he wanted to kill “happy looking women,” according to Japanese media.
The suspect, Yusuke Tsushima, was detained on the night of the attack, after he identified himself as the attacker to a convenience store employee, the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun reported, citing police sources.
Police arrested Tsushima and found a 20-centimeter chef knife in his possession, believed to be the weapon in the earlier attack onboard the Odakyu train line that goes from central Tokyo to southwestern suburbs of the Japanese capital, according to the newspaper.
The suspect’s reported motive added chilling detail to an assault that stunned the Japanese public during the last days of the Tokyo Olympics. The reported targeting of women has led many to call it a femicide.
Among the injured was a 20-year-old female university student who was stabbed seven times in the back and chest. Four other women and five men were also injured, four of whom were slashed by the attacker and six of whom were injured while escaping. All 10 victims were taken to the hospital on Friday night.
Tsushima told police he chose to attack people on a train “because there isn’t anywhere to escape, and I could kill many people,” the newspaper reported. He reportedly said he deliberately chose an express train that stops infrequently.
During police questioning, the man said he started having the urge to target women about six years ago, according to Japanese newspaper Tokyo Shimbun.
“When I was in college, I was looked down on by women in my club activities. I also didn’t get along with the women I met on dating sites, so I started wanting to kill happy women,” according to Mainichi Shimbun.
“My life is trashy. My misery is all because of the people around me," he reportedly said.
Violent public crime is rare in Japan, especially ones involving random victims.
Since the 1995 sarin train attack by the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo, police have increased security on Tokyo public transportation. The terrorist act 26 years ago left 14 dead and over 6,000 injured.
The most recent violent public crime that shocked Japan was in 2019, when a man attacked a group of school children waiting for a bus in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture. The incident left two dead and 18 injured. The attacker stabbed himself and later died in hospital.
There were about 400 passengers onboard the train at the time of the Friday attack.
Witnesses said passengers sought to defend themselves by holding up their bags as shields. Some passengers in adjacent cars shut the partitioning doors to block the attacker, who was holding a long knife.
Once the train stopped, police and emergency medical staff tended to the passengers. Tsushima reportedly managed to escape and fled on a stolen bicycle.
Tsushima was detained later that night at a convenience store in Suginami ward in western Tokyo. A store employee called the police after Tsushima reportedly told the staff member he was the attacker and was “tired of running.”
Police are continuing to investigate the assault. In Japan, brutal attacks with intent to kill can carry the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.