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At least eight people were injured when a man deliberately drove his vehicle into a crowded Tokyo street filled with people who had gathered for the city's New Year's festivities.

The street was closed to vehicular traffic at the time as it was expected to be crowded with people, including those making New Year's visits to the nearby Meiji Shrine, one of the biggest Shinto shrines in Japan.

According to national broadcaster NHK, the driver told police he was acting in "retribution for the death penalty" without giving more precise details.

NHK footage showed the van with a smashed front and paramedics carrying the injured on stretchers into ambulances.

Kusakabe told the police he had meant to kill the pedestrians he hit "in retaliation for an execution". There was a 20-liter tank of kerosene in the rental auto, which he said he planned to use to burn the vehicle, the investigative sources said.

One witness told NHK it was a "ghastly scene".




Takeshita Street in Shibuya ward is a popular shopping area known for its quirky fashion and youth culture.

He drove the wrong way on the one-way street and hit eight men aged between 19 and 51 while traveling around 140 meters, the police said.

Narrow Takeshita Street is typically bustling with tourists during the day but was relatively sparse when Kusakabe drove through it, local media reported. One college student suffered serious injuries and was undergoing surgery, the police spokesman said.

Another man was slightly injured after Kusakabe allegedly struck him after getting out of the auto, the police said.

A police spokesman said a man has been detained over the incident and that he had described the incident as an "act of terror", Reuters reported.

Instead, Japanese people tend to see in the New Year with families and go to the shrine to pray for good fortune in the year to come.


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