2 killed in Osaka, man held

OSAKA - A 36-year-old man was arrested Sunday afternoon after two people were fatally stabbed with a kitchen knife in a random attack on a crowded street in Chuo Ward, Osaka, police said.

Kyozo Isohi, unemployed and of no fixed address, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. The Osaka prefectural police set up a task force at Minami Police Station to investigate the case as one of murder.

The two victims, Shingo Minamino, 42, of Higashi-Kurume, Tokyo, a music producer at computer software company Digiturbo Co., and Toshi Sasaki, 66, an Osaka bar owner, were stabbed repeatedly and were pronounced dead at a hospital.

Isohi was quoted by police as saying: "I bought a kitchen knife in the area to kill myself. But I couldn't do it. I attacked them because I thought I would be executed if I killed someone."

Police said Isohi told them he did not know the two victims.

Isohi allegedly stabbed Minamino several times in the neck, abdomen and other places with a kitchen knife on a street in the Higashi-Shinsaibashi district at about 1 p.m., the police said.

He then allegedly stabbed Sasaki in her back and abdomen about 40 meters from the first attack. Sasaki was riding her bicycle when she was attacked.

According to police, Isohi started looking around, but he then allegedly stabbed Sasaki again as she was lying on the ground.

He then returned to Minamino, who was lying on the ground, climbed on him and allegedly started stabbing him again.

Police officers overpowered him at this point and Isohi did not offer any resistance.

The police plan to question Isohi further to determine his motives and other details on suspicion that he had committed indiscriminate murder.

According to the police, Isohi bought a kitchen knife with an 18-centimeter blade about an hour before the attack at the nearby Shinsaibashi outlet of Daimaru department store. The knife is believed to have been used in the stabbing spree.

Isohi, originally from Tochigi Prefecture, was quoted by police as saying he lived in the prefecture after he was released from Niigata Prison in late May. He apparently came to Osaka on Saturday to meet an acquaintance, they said.

"I've no place to live and no job. After withdrawing 200,000 yen from my bank account, which was all I had, I wondered how I could live. I then thought of killing myself," the police quoted him as saying. "I found my way to the Minami district and bought a kitchen knife because I thought I could kill myself with it."

According to the police, Minamino was attacked when he got out of his car. He had come to Osaka to prepare for a live show on Sunday evening at a club in the Minami district. Minamino's equipment was in his car.

Minamino leaves a wife and three small children, while Sasaki lived alone in a condominium only 600 meters from the crime scene.

The attacks occurred in the center of Minami, the largest business and entertainment district in western Japan, when the area was crowded with shoppers. The district is located southeast of Shinsaibashi Station of the Osaka municipal subway.

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