Tokyo attack: Vehicle plows into New Year's crowd, injuring nine people

Police took into custody a man in his 20s

Police took into custody a man in his 20s

The police also found a 20-liter tanks of kerosene in the auto, which Kusakabe said he planned to use to burn the vehicle, according to the police.

There is no information so far to suggest foreign tourists were among the injured, the police spokesman said.

Japan's NHK World said he was driving a rental van registered in Osaka, the western city where two other executions were carried out last month over a 1988 robbery and murder case.

Kusakabe was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, police said.

Kusakabe had tried to flee the scene but was captured about 20 minutes after the incident, RT reported.

At first, Kusakabe claimed that he wanted to commit "an act of terror" but later said he was "acting in retaliation for the death penalty system".

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In 2018, Japan executed 15 people, matching the highest-ever figure met in 2008 since the Japanese government resumed the death penalty in 1993.

The incident occurred on Takeshita Street in the Harajuku district, a famous and crowded shopping street on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, where vehicles were banned from entering on Monday night.

Images showed crowds flocking to the shrine on New Year's Day, despite the incident just hours earlier.

Kusakabe hit a total of eight people and assaulted another on the street, which was closed to traffic for the New Year celebrations, local media reported. "This is a place I'm familiar with, so it's very shocking", Tatsuhiro Yaegashi, a 27-year-old worker in the area, said according to Reuters.

Some media reports said the man had linked the attack to the executions in July of 13 members of the Aum Shinrikyo or Aum Supreme Truth cult, who were responsible for a 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway.

NHK TV footage showed a small van with the entire front end smashed and officers and ambulance workers rushing to the scene.

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