Videos of the incident, that occurred in Tokyo’s Kokuryo station on Sunday, showed scenes of chaos. Commuters were seen running from one carriage to another and jumping off the train’s windows once it made an emergency stop.
At least 17 were injured in the incident. Most of them were passengers on their way to Halloween parties. At least three commuters sustained serious injuries, with one elderly man falling unconscious, the Associated Press reported, quoting Tokyo’s fire department.
The accused was identified by Tokyo’s police department as 24-year-old Kyota Hattori. He was wearing a bright green shirt along with a tie, purple waistcoat and pants, an outfit resembling one worn by Joker — a character associated with the Batman series.
The attacker stabbed many people, after which he sprayed a liquid in one of the carriages and set it on fire, damaging seats, according to witness testimonies. One video of the incident showed a small explosion inside the train, as passengers scrambled for safety.
The details of several of those injured are being ascertained, police said.
The accused, who is now in police custody, was subsequently seen sitting calmly in the train and smoking. He did not appear to be in a state of fear or panic.
The accused told authorities he “wanted to kill people so he could be sentenced to death,” local media reported.
Shunsuke Kimura, a witness who filmed the ensuing chaos, told national broadcaster NHK that all passengers were desperate to get out, adding that he jumped out of a window and landed on the platform, hurting his shoulder in the process.
“Train doors were closed and we had no idea what was happening, and we jumped from the windows,” Mr Kimura said. “It was horrifying.”
This is the second mass stabbing incident in Japan in recent years. Ten people were attacked by a knife-wielding man on another Tokyo commuter train in August this year. In 2019, a man attacked a group of schoolchildren waiting for a bus in Kawasaki, killing two and injuring at least 18 others.