Scene of ramming in Tokyo
Scene of ramming in Tokyo REUTERS

Authorities in Japan are investigating a ramming attack on pedestrians in Tokyo on New Year’s as a possible terror attack, after nine people were injured.

The incident occurred 10 minutes after midnight on New Year’s on Takeshita Street in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo, AFP reported.

Police say the suspect, 21-year-old Kazuhiro Kusakabe, purposely ploughed his car into a crowd of revelers celebrating the new year.

A police spokesman told AFP Kusakabe acted with “intent to murder”.

A total of nine people were injured, including one victim who is said to be in serious condition.

An eyewitness told NHK the scene of the attack was “ghastly”.

“I saw some guys collapsed on the street. As I walked closer toward the scene, many more people had fallen on the ground. By the time I reached the exact place, paramedics were already there helping people.”

According to Japan’s NHK, Kusakabe told police he rammed the pedestrians in “retribution for the death penalty”.

While Kusakabe did not elaborate, police said, the comment could be a reference to the execution of members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult and terror organization earlier this year.

In 1994 and 1995, the Aum Shinrikyo, led by Shoko Asahara, launched Sarin gas attacks in Tokyo and Matsumoto, killing a total of 21 people and injured over 1,500.

The 13 members of the terror cell convicted of the attacks were executed in July, including Asahara.

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