Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Japan struggles with puzzle of random killing


One year after a 25-year-old factory worker killed seven people in a stabbing spree in a crowded Tokyo shopping district,  Japan is struggling again with the sinister puzzle of random killings following the arrest of a man on suspicion of  causing the deaths of four people by setting fire to a “pachinko” pinball parlour.

“I was out of work, had no money and hated my life, and then I got the idea of killing anyone, like a random killer, and started a fire at a place where there were a lot of people,” the 41-year-old man was quoted by media as telling police after turning himself in on Monday evening.

Acquaintances and neighbours told Japanese media the man was a loner who lost his job last year. Reports said he had around $20,000 worth of debts. Among those killed in the fire was a 20-year-old female staffer who was going to night-school and had hoped to become a wedding planner.


Three days later, the story is still getting wide media play, jostling for attention with reports of ethnic violence in China and Prime Minister Taro Aso’s attendance at a G8 summit in Italy.