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Six dead in Tokyo stabbing spree

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Seventeen ambulances were sent to the scene


A man armed with a knife has killed six people and injured 11 others in central Tokyo, Japanese media say.


The incident occurred in the Akihabara district, a busy shopping area known as Electric Town that is popular with young people and tourists.


A suspect, said to be 25-year-old Tomohiro Kato, has been arrested near the scene.


The stabbing falls on the anniversary of a brutal knife attack at a primary school in 2001.


Jiro Akagi, a police spokesman, confirmed Mr Kato's arrest and identity, but gave no further details. Earlier reports suggested he could have been a gangster.


Three men aged 19, 47 and 74 died after being stabbed in Akihabara, police said. It was not immediately clear whether the other victims were male or female.


Reports say the suspect drove a truck into a crowd in the early afternoon and then began stabbing people at random.


James Slaymaker, a British man working in Japan, got to the area shortly after the stabbings. He described the scene to BBC News:


"As I walked down the street, I noticed there were a lot of police cars. I noticed there was a guy literally just lying there with tape on his eyes and blood pouring out of the side of him. I was appalled.


"I could see carnage - bodies everywhere. Some were conscious, some were not, lying by the side of the road and on the road. There were people everywhere, a lot of onlookers."


Crime increase


The Akihabara district specialises in electronic gadgets and video games and is especially popular with people interested in comic books and distinctive fashion.

It is also home to one of the first shops to sell personal robots and robotics. The area is often crowded on weekends.


Once rare in Japan, there has been an increase in knife crime in recent years.


In January, a 16-year-old school boy armed with two kitchen knives injured several people on a crowded shopping street in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward.


The Akihabara attack occurred on the same date that a man with a history of mental illness went through a primary school in 2001, stabbing children at random.


Eight children died and 15 pupils and teachers were injured in that attack, in a school in Ikeda, in the city of Osaka.



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