Minivan Slams Into New Year's Revelers In Tokyo, Injuring 8 People

Police officers stand next to a car that plowed into pedestrians in Tokyo Japan Jan. 1 2019
Police officers stand next to a car that plowed into pedestrians in Tokyo Japan Jan. 1 2019. Reuters Kim Kyung-Hoon

02 January, 2019

Manchester/Tokyo: Suspected incidents of terrorism were reported from United Kingdom and Japan on New Year's, leaving several people injured in both the countries.

The suspect, 21, Kazuhiro Kusakabe, was arrested and being questioned, Tokyo Metropolitan Police said on customary condition of anonymity. Police said they were busy and did not immediately confirm the Kyodo report.

At least nine people were injured, one seriously, when a vehicle deliberately plowed into crowds celebrating New Year's Eve in a central part of Tokyo, according to police. He is suspected of intentionally trying to kill people by driving the vehicle into them in the street. Initially, a police spokesperson characterised the crash as an "act of terror", Reuters reported.

A 19-year-old university student remains unconscious after being hit by the minicar shortly after midnight on Takeshita Street in the Harajuku district, which is normally packed with young shoppers and foreign tourists during daytime.

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TV aired video of a small van with the entire front end smashed while emergency workers rushed to the scene.

The road was closed to facilitate access to the shrine, which is a popular destination for people on New Year's Eve.

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.

Japan is a relatively crime free nation with strict gun-control laws.

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