Japan saw the ghastly murder of seven people yesterday when a man drove his two-tonne-lorry into crossing pedestrians and then went on a stabbing spree in Akihabara, Tokyo. Our Observer in the country questions whether the Japanese are prone to such gruesome massacres, and why.
The 25-year-old factory worker, Tomohiro Kato, told police, that he was "tired of life" according to Japanese press. He was pegged as a video-game and comic book addict, and a visitor to restaurants where the waitresses dress up as French maids. He apparently posted messages on internet forums about the imminent "disaster in Akihabara", saying that he would crash his vehicle into people and get out a knife. Of the 17 people he stabbed or hit, seven died.
Lee Chapman is a British expat who's been living in Japan for ten years:
As for this guy, well he doesn't seem unordinary. Visiting restaurants where the waitresses dress up as French maids is mainstream and quite innocent here. I don't think the Japanese will make the link between this event and social problems. He'll just be seen as a lunatic. And then it's a case of carrying on until the next one happens. Things here don't change very quickly. And nobody chooses to see the real problem."
Typical dress for a waitress in the Tokyo district of Akihabara, where the trend of dressing up as a French maid began. Photo: "mujitra" on Flickr.