Published: Thu, January 03, 2019
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Van slams into pedestrians on Tokyo road, injuring 8 people

Van slams into pedestrians on Tokyo road, injuring 8 people

Nine people were injured - one seriously - when a man rammed his vehicle into pedestrians in the early hours of Tuesday on Harajuku's famed Takeshita Street in what the driver told police was a terrorist act, according to the authorities.

The crash occurred early Tuesday on Takeshita Dori, a road well known to tourists and pop culture and fashion fans that runs right by Meiji Shrine in Harajuku, Shibuya ward.

Police spokesman Satoshi Mishima said a 21-year-old man had been arrested, but said police were still investigating the precise motives behind the attack.

Kusakabe hit a total of eight people and assaulted another on the street, which was closed to traffic for the New Year celebrations, local media reported.

NHK reported that Kusakabe told police he was acting in "retribution for the death penalty".

The people injured ranged in age from teenagers to people in their 50s, including a male university student who remains in critical condition.

He is suspected of intentionally trying to kill people by driving the vehicle into them in the street.

The attacker, who reportedly drove the vehicle from the western region of Osaka, has told investigators that he planned to burn the vehicle, according to private network Fuji TV.

The police also found a 20-liter tanks of kerosene in the auto, which Kusakabe said he planned to use to burn the vehicle, according to the police.

One witness told NHK the scene was "ghastly".

Local media reported that the student was in a coma.

A ninth man was slightly injured after the driver had allegedly struck him after getting out of the auto.

A police spokesman said the driver had been detained but has not given out any further details on the identity of the suspect.

Instead, Japanese people tend to see in the New Year with families and go to the shrine to pray for good fortune in the year to come.

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