Tomohiro Kato, the maniac who in 2008 used a knife and a truck to conduct a bloody slaughter in Akihabara, slaying 7 and wounding a further 10, has finally been sentenced to death.
Kato himself reportedly had a difficult upbringing, having been treated very harshly by his parents, leading into a troubled adulthood, which finally culminated in at least one suicide attempt.
His murderous spree was premeditated, having seen him come all the way from his home Shizuoka, selling possessions in order to buy knives and rent a truck, and he freely admitted the crime whilst making no attempt to avoid capture or detection, even posting warnings about the impending crime.
The crime itself was apparently a variation on “suicide by cop,” having been prompted by him believing that he was about to be fired from his job as a despatch worker, and a general sense of despair over his belief that he was an ugly loser in dire financial straits.
Courts subsequently ruled he was fit to stand trial, and after a lengthy trial found him guilty and sentenced him to death – a largely foregone conclusion, with Japan reserving the death penalty for mass murderers whose guilt is in no doubt.
Throughout the trial Kato has offered little direct insight into what his motivations were, failing to respond even when the final sentence was handed down.
As might be expected from a nation which took 3 years to sentence a spree killer, whether he ultimately dies of old age on death row or actually makes it to the gallows is hard to predict.