Knifeman who went on a Halloween stabbing rampage on Tokyo express train dressed in a Joker costume is jailed for 23 years in Japan
- Kyota Hattori, 26, was found guilty of attempted murder after terrifying attack
- During trial, Hattori said he was shocked his ex had quickly married someone
- He said that he carried out the attack so he could end his life by death penalty
A knifeman who went on a Halloween stabbing rampage on a Tokyo express train while dressed in a Joker costume two years ago has been jailed for 23 years in Japan.
Kyota Hattori, 26, was found guilty of attempted murder for stabbing and seriously injuring a man in his 70s and of spraying lighter fluid onboard the commuter train and then lighting it to try to kill others. Twelve people were injured by the blaze, most of them not seriously.
Hattori, who was filmed sitting on the train after the attack wearing a purple suit and green shirt resembling the Joker’s outfit while smoking a cigarette and holding a knife, was sentenced at the Tachikawa branch of Tokyo District Court today.
The knifeman told the trial he was so shocked his girlfriend had married someone else only six months after they broke up that he decided to carry out the attack so he could end his life by receiving the death penalty, NHK public television reported.
In the ruling, Judge Yu Takeshita said the attack was an ‘indiscriminate crime with a selfish motive that targeted many passengers who happened to be on the train.’
Kyota Hattori (pictured in Joker outfit smoking cigarette after attacj), 26, was found guilty of attempted murder for stabbing and seriously injuring a man in his 70s and of spraying lighter fluid onboard the commuter train and then lighting it to try to kill others
Hattori (left and right) told the trial he was so shocked his girlfriend had married someone else only six months after they broke up that he decided to carry out the attack so he could end his life by receiving the death penalty
Prosecutors sought 25 years in prison, arguing that the attack was premeditated and that Hattori had deliberately chosen a special express train that makes fewer stops so passengers would have less chance of escaping.
The attack occurred on the Keio express line bound for Shinjuku, the world’s busiest rail station.
Defence lawyers asked for 12 years, saying the attack did not constitute attempted murder because most passengers were out of reach when Hattori set the fire.
At the time of his arrest, Hattori was reported to have told detectives he was failing at work and he had troubled relationships with friends.
‘I messed up at work around June and wasn’t getting along with friends,’ Hattori told the police. ‘I wanted to die. I thought that if I killed two or more people, I would get the death penalty. It didn’t matter who they were.’
The 72-year-old man from Tokyo was unconscious and in critical condition after being stabbed in the chest with an 11-inch-long knife by Hattori, according to media at the time.
The attack happened inside the Keio train near the Kokuryo station. Hattori carried out the act without showing any emotion, a female passenger said afterwards.
‘He held a knife and started spreading liquid,’ she said.
‘He was committing this act without showing any emotion, just mechanically. I think that brought fear to everyone.’
Footage showed a number of firefighters, police officials and paramedics rescuing the passengers, many of whom escaped through train windows.
Footage shared on social media captured the moment that Hattori (pictured) was arrested by Japanese police
Many passengers escaped through train windows (pictured) after the doors failed to open immediately when it stopped
Rescue workers (pictured) at the scene in Japan after Hattori – dressed as the Joker – stabbed passengers
Pictured: Smoke could be seen billowing from one of the carriages where it a fire was started
The scene at the Tokyo train station from the air (pictured) following the savage attack by Hattori
In one video, passengers ran from another train car, where flames were gushing.
Gun-related crime is rare in Japan because of strict gun control laws, but there has been a series of high-profile knife attacks in recent years on subways and elsewhere, and there is growing concern about homemade guns and explosives.
Train operators in major cities have stepped up safety measures, including installing security cameras in train cars and conducting more frequent safety drills.
In August 2021, on the day before the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, a 36-year-old man stabbed 10 passengers on a Odakyu Electric Railway commuter train in Tokyo in a random attack.
The man later told police that he wanted to attack women who looked happy. Hattori said at the time that he had been inspired by this attack.
He reportedly told police he used lighter fluid in his attack because the cooking oil used in the Odakyu attack did not ignite.
‘Looking at the Odakyu Line train case in August, I targeted an express train which would have more passengers and used cigarette lighter fluid,’ Hattori told police, according to Japan News.
‘I noticed that cooking oil doesn’t burn well, so I used lighter fluid that I put in a 2-liter plastic bottle,’ he said, adding that after the fire started, he tried to make it more fierce by spraying the flame with an aerosol can.
A month before the Odakyu attack, a 37-year-old man stabbed three passengers with a knife on an airport train in Osaka.
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