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Victims of the fatal disaster in Akihabara, sixteen years later

Victims of a fatal disaster in Tokyo’s busy Akihabara district in 2008 were remembered Saturday, the 16th anniversary of the random attack that killed seven people and injured 10 others.

Prayers and flowers were offered at the intersection where the incident occurred.

“I feel uncomfortable if I don’t come here today,” said a 45-year-old from Koga, Ibaraki Prefecture, who witnessed the incident 16 years ago and visits the scene almost every year.

“There was a tense atmosphere,” a 54-year-old from Yokohama said of the scene he saw shortly after the incident. “Although the death penalty was carried out (on the attacker), it did not make any difference.”

A woman, 72, who works near the site, said the dead must have had a future, such as getting married and starting a family. “It was a terrible incident and I don’t want it to be forgotten.”

In the incident on June 8, 2008, the attacker, Tomohiro Kato, rammed a truck into the pedestrian area near Akihabara station, hitting passers-by. He then got out and started randomly stabbing others with a knife.

His death sentence was finalized at the Supreme Court in February 2015. He was executed in July 2022 at the age of 39.

The incident shocked Japan as it was believed that he was motivated by a sense of dissatisfaction with those around him and a deep sense of loneliness.

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