International News

Schoolgirl among stabbing victims

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THE man who set upon a group of schoolchildren in Japan armed with two knives, killing two people and injuring several others has been identified as 51-year-old Ryuichi Iwasaki. The children were waiting for a bus to take them to school in the city of Kawasaki on Tuesday when the man attacked them, killing an 11-year-old girl and her father and injuring 17 others, 16 of them children. He then took his own life by stabbing himself in the neck and his motive may never be known.

The incident has particularly shocked the Japanese who live in a country where murder is very rare and mass killings are practically unheard of. Partly this is put down to their gun laws which make it almost impossible to own a weapon. Annual firearms deaths are in single figures or even zero, remarkable in a country of 126 million people or so. However, maniacs will often find a way, although if the attacker had been armed with an automatic weapon rather than two knives the death toll would undoubtedly be much higher.

Ironically Donald Trump, the leader of the developed country with the highest murder rate in the world, was in Japan on a state visit at the time. He did the right thing by offering his condolences in a sincere fashion but may privately have wondered what all the fuss was about as he presides over a country where around 50 people a day on average are murdered.

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