Police send suspect in Tokyo car attack to prosecutors

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-02 22:32:55|Editor: ZX
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TOKYO, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Japanese police on Wednesday sent a male suspect to prosecutors following allegations that he rammed his car into pedestrians on a popular shopping street in central Tokyo in the early hours of New Year's Day.

Kazuhiro Kusakabe, 21, who was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder on Tuesday, is believed to have driven his rental car along the crowded Takeshita Street in the Harajuku district just after midnight, injuring nine people.

Among the injured, a 19-year old student remained in hospital in critical condition, local media reported Wednesday.

The vehicle was loaded with a tank containing 20 liters of kerosene when the attack took place.

According to investigators who have interviewed the suspect, Kusakabe intended to set the car on fire using the kerosene at the nearby Meiji Shrine, one of the biggest Shinto shrines in the country.

He could not enter the shrine, the grounds of which are always packed with locals and tourists, due to restricted traffic controls, police here said.

Failing to do so, he opted instead to ram his car into pedestrians on the famous Takeshita shopping street frequented by youngsters and tourists, the investigators said.

The police also confirmed that Kusakabe made his way from Osaka in the rental car and arrived in the capital at around noon on New Year's eve.

The car he is alleged to have used in the attack was reserved by Kusakabe four days earlier, the police said, believing the attack to have been premeditated.

Following his arrest after driving the wrong way down the one-way street and hitting eight people during the 140-meter rampage, Kusakabe told investigators he had carried out a terrorist attack.

Kusakabe, who fled the scene after crashing into a building but was arrested in a nearby park 30 minutes later, said he perpetrated the attack in retaliation for Japan's system of capital punishment, according to the latest local media accounts.