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Japanese man stabs, beats bus passengers; 14 hurt

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS/ASAHI SHIMBUN
    Students and other bus passengers attacked by a knife-wielding man are treated by paramedics outside a train station in Toride, Ibaraki prefecture, north of Tokyo, Friday, Dec. 17, 2010. An unemployed Japanese man with a knife attacked students and others waiting on two public buses outside the station Friday in a rampage that left 13 people injured, police said. Police arrested Yuta Saito, 27, on charges of attempted murder after he was subdued by residents during the melee. (AP Photo/Asahi Shimbun, Akira Sato)
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TOKYO — An unemployed man stabbed and beat up students and other passengers on two public buses outside a Japanese train station Friday in a rampage that injured 14, police said.

Police arrested Yuta Saito, 27, on charges of attempted murder after he was subdued by residents outside Toride Station in Ibaraki Prefecture, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo, local police spokesman Masaru Morita said.

"I wanted to end my life. It is true that I wounded people at random with a kitchen knife," Saito told police, according to Kyodo News Agency.

Six people were stabbed and eight others had bruises and other injuries from thrown punches or trying to escape, Toride police official Mitsuyuki Ohura told The Associated Press.

Twelve of the injured were junior high and high school students, Ohura said. Officials did not immediately say how many children had been stabbed.

One of the injured has wounds that will require several weeks of treatment in hospital, fire department spokesman Shireka Iyoka said.

Television images showed pools of blood on the bus floor and a large area outside the train station cordoned off by police. The attack occurred around 7:40 a.m. Friday morning, when the children were likely on their way to school.

It evoked memories of a ferocious attack in 2008 in which a man slammed a truck into a crowd of people in central Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district and stabbed passers-by. Seven people were killed.

Japan has since toughened its knife laws. Regulations that took effect last year ban double-edged weapons 2.2 inches (5.5 centimeters) or longer, shortening the limit from 15 centimeters.

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