Mazda Rampage defendant pleads guilty in part
Japanese news sources are reporting that Toshiaki Hikiji, who is accused of hitting and injuring (and in one case killing) 12 people in the Hiroshima-based Mazda complex in 2010, has pleaded guilty to having caused the injuries of 8 of the 12, but has pleaded that he is innocent in respect of the remaining three, of which one had been killed.
Apparently, counsel for Hikiji have argued during the trial that he was insane at the time of the incident. This, of course, relies on Article 39(1) of the Penal Code, which states that “[a]n act of insanity is not punishable.”
The verdict is scheduled for 9 March 2012. Watch this space!
I recall that the Japanese news outlets made a point of drawing parallels between this incident and the senseless Akihabara massacre in 2008, and the nodding heads on the panel discussion shows all agreed that both incidents were attributable to the hikikomori ”phenomenon”. Ultimately, not much eventuated; but it did lead to me reading Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation - a study into the “phenomenon” by Michael Zielenziger. While I disagree with much of his over-simplified characterizations about Japan, he does present the interesting thesis that the hikikomori is a manifestation of Japanese cultural ideosyncrasies. Worth a read.
- Partial guilty plea in Mazda rampage trial (Japan Times / Kyodo)
- はねた行為「９人目以降認めぬ」 マツダ工場暴走で被告 (Asahi Shimbun)