Van driver who ploughed into Tokyo pedestrians had 'intent to murder'

Car rams pedestrians in Tokyo- driver speaks of the act of terrorism

A auto plowed through a crowd of pedestrians celebrating New Year's Eve in Tokyo, Japan, in the early morning of January 1.

A police spokesman said the driver had been detained and national broadcaster NHK said the man had been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

Police say the man is suspected of intentionally trying to kill people by ploughing the medium-sized van into crowds who had lined the streets to welcome in 2019.

TV aired video of a small van with the entire front end smashed while emergency workers rushed to the scene.

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

Police took into custody a man in his 20s.

Japanese media reported that Kusakabe appeared to have planned to set his vehicle on fire.

A vehicle is inspected by police after it injured several pedestrians on Takeshita Street in Tokyo, early Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. Police declined to comment on the reports, saying such possible motives were still under investigation.

One unnamed source revealed to Kyodo News that the suspect told police that he "raised a terror attack" in "retaliation for an execution" and vowed not to "make any excuse" for it. It was not immediately clear whether he was referring to a specific execution or the country's system of capital punishment.

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

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