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One dead in stabbing attack at supermarket in Japan

File image: There is a growing concern in Japan over a rising number of random stabbing attacks, as well as the use of explosives and homemade firearms  (AFP via Getty Images)
File image: There is a growing concern in Japan over a rising number of random stabbing attacks, as well as the use of explosives and homemade firearms (AFP via Getty Images)

A supermarket employee died on Sunday after a man stabbed him and two other members of staff at their convenience store in Sapporo on Japan’s northern Hokkaido island.

The incident took place at a Seicomart in Sapporo’s Kita Ward shortly before 7am.

Three employees aged between 40 and 60 were stabbed and injured, with a man in his 40s taken to the hospital where he later died. Two others, a man and a woman, remained conscious, NHK said, citing police.

Seicomart confirmed in a statement on X that an employee had been stabbed to death, and two others were injured.

An unemployed 43-year-old man, identified as Hirotaka Miyanshi, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder. Police said he admitted to all three stabbings, according to the Japan Times.

In January, three men were injured in a stabbing incident in Tokyo’s Akihabara tourism hotspot, but public violence largely remains rare in Japan.

The number of stabbings has mainly been attributed to the fact the country has stringent gun control laws, resulting in only a few gun-related offences each year.

There has been a notable shift in recent times, however, with some prominent incidents involving random knifings on subways and arson attacks.

Additionally, there is a rising apprehension surrounding the emergence of homemade guns and explosives, prompting growing concerns within the nation.

In 2022, former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was gunned down by a man who emerged from a crowd, wielding a homemade firearm, in one of the most high-profile killings the country has seen.

Additional reporting by agencies