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Japanese stabbing suspect had cache of weapons
Japan Stabb 5830056
Tomohiro Kato, center, suspected of Sunday's deadly stabbing rampage, sits inside a car as he is transferred from a police station in Tokyo Tuesday, June 10, 2008. Kato plowed into shoppers Sunday with a truck and then stabbed 17 people within minutes, killing at least seven of them in a grisly attack in the district, a popular electronics and video game area, before his arrest. - photo by AP Photo/Kyodo News
    TOKYO — Investigators searching the apartment of the suspect in a bloody Tokyo rampage found evidence Tuesday he bought a small cache of knives and other weapons just before the assault, police said.
    Tomohiro Kato, a 25-year-old factory worker, was handed over to the Tokyo prosecutors’ office Tuesday as more Internet postings surfaced depicting him as increasingly despondent before the attack and intent on killing people.
    In one posting, he reportedly called himself ‘‘worse than trash.’’
    ‘‘Oh, I am hopeless,’’ he wrote two days before the attack, according to reports in The Asahi, a Tokyo newspaper. ‘‘What I want to do: commit murder. My dream: to monopolize the tabloid TV shows.’’
    Police say Kato allegedly slammed a rented truck into pedestrians in a crowded shopping district Sunday then jumped out and began a stabbing spree.
    Three people were killed by the impact of the truck, four died from stab wounds and another 10 were injured, police said. Kato, blood spattered on his face and clothes, was arrested on the spot.
    Kato reportedly posted Internet messages on ‘‘Extreme Exchange.’’ Experts say it is one of a growing number of Web sites used for dubious contacts such as seeking out accomplices in criminal activities, or for group suicides or to buy and sell illegal drugs.
    Kato has said he acted alone; the motive for the attack remained unclear.
    Police spokesmen who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing said Kato has at times broken down in tears during questioning, and has confessed to the crimes, but has been unapologetic.
    National broadcaster NHK showed surveillance tapes of the truck slamming into the crowd in the Akihabara shopping district, and of a man jumping out and running wildly among the panicked bystanders.
    It also obtained surveillance footage of Kato buying hunting knives at an outdoor recreation store two days before the attack. Kato is seen on the tape laughing with the salesman and at times making stabbing motions with his hands.
    At Kato’s apartment outside Tokyo, police confiscated empty packages that had contained knives and a club. They also found receipts for the weapons, the spokesmen said.
    Media reports portrayed an increasingly desperate man who had recently quit his job and posted angry and despairing messages on an Internet bulletin board warning he was planning to commit murder.
    Police confirmed to The Associated Press that they were aware of the postings, but refused to comment on their content.
    According to the Yomiuri and Asahi newspapers, Kato told police he went to Akihabara on Saturday to plan the assault. NHK quoted police as saying that while there he sold his home computer and some software to raise money to rent the truck.
    Three days before the attack, Kato lost his temper and quit his job at an auto parts factory in Shizuoka, about 100 miles southwest of Tokyo, said company executive Osamu Namai. Namai said Kato was a ‘‘very serious’’ worker and had not stood out as a troublemaker.
    After quitting, Kato sent a slew of postings from his mobile phone to the Extreme Exchange bulletin board. Access to the site has been halted and the provider is working with the police, said Hiroyuki Kuwako of the Telecom Services Association.
    Japanese media said the postings showed a disturbed man raging against society and vowing revenge by unleashing his fury on the streets of Akihabara, a center of Japan’s comic book and anime culture. Akihabara was a high-profile target because its main street is closed to traffic on Sundays, allowing large crowds to flow into the area.
    A chronicle of Kato’s messages, carried by the Mainichi newspaper, portrayed a man who felt he had no future, was ‘‘ugly’’ and ‘‘worse than trash.’’
    Just 20 minutes before the attack, he posted his last message: ‘‘It’s time.’’
    No charges have been filed against Kato. Under Japanese law, a suspect can be held by police for two days and then must be transferred to the custody of prosecutors, who have 20 days to either file charges or release the suspect.
    Associated Press reporters Shino Yuasa and Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.

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