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Man Stabs 15 at Crowded Train Station

July 6, 1996

TOKYO (AP) _ A man who said he had received a divine message slashed 15 people with a camping knife at a crowded train station in southern Japan on Saturday.

Four people were in serious condition with stab wounds to their chests and backs, said police spokesman Yuichi Yamato. Among those injured was the suspect’s 51-year-old father, who reportedly had accompanied him on a job interview.

The 21-year-old man, whose name was not disclosed, started chasing passengers at Kokura Station in the southernmost main island of Kyushu, attacking people on the train platform, ticket gate and stairs.

Station workers interviewed on NHK TV said the midday attack set off a panic at the station, which was packed with weekend travelers. Random violence is rare in Japan, where crime rates are relatively low.

The man rushed out into the streets, where he was arrested on attempted murder charges a half-hour later, Yamato said.

While police chased the man, station employees herded as many passengers as they could into their offices to keep them safe. The man repeatedly told police he had received a divine message, but it was not clear to which religion or cult he was referring.

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