A van has slammed into a crowd of people as they celebrated New Year's Eve on the streets of downtown Tokyo.
21-year-old Kazuhiro Kusakabe was reportedly arrested in Tokyo on suspicion of attempted murder after plowing his rental auto, fitted with an Osaka license plate, into people on the Takeshita Street in the city's Harajuku district, which was closed to vehicles for the first day of the year. Initially, a police spokesperson characterised the crash as an "act of terror", Reuters reported.
Eight people were injured, one seriously, by the attacker who struck in the Harajuku fashion district shortly after midnight.
Police said a large tank filled with kerosene was found in the auto. It was not clear if he was referring to a specific execution or capital punishment in general.
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A 20-year-old man rammed his vehicle into the crowded street, which was closed to traffic at the time for holiday revellers.
TV footage showed a small van with the entire front end smashed and officers and ambulance workers rushing to the scene. The man told the police he had knocked down the pedestrians in order to kill them, the MPD said.
Another 19-year-old man was slightly injured after Kusakabe allegedly struck him after getting out of the auto, the police said.
Popular with teenagers, it runs right by Meiji Shrine in Harajuku. At least seven people were killed and a dozen injured.