School attended by victims of deadly stabbing rampage near Tokyo reopens

TOKYO, June 5 (Xinhua) -- A Japanese elementary school attended by victims of a deadly stabbing spree last week in Kawasaki close to Tokyo, reopened on Wednesday for the first time since the brutal incident.

On Wednesday morning, the bus stop to Caritas Elementary School, close to the scene of the attack on May 28 had been moved to a new location and buses not carrying the private Catholic school's insignia were used to pick up the pupils and attract less attention.

The bus stop itself had a heavy security presence, however, comprising school officials, police officers and security guards.

Some parents waved their children off to school as the bus departed, other parents, however, opted to ride the bus with their children to ensure they got to the school gates safely.

Some parents, meanwhile, opted to drive their children to school, rather than let their children commute using public transport or on foot, and the school operator did not require its pupils to wear school uniform, if not doing so would make the pupils feel more comfortable.

According to local reports, some children were happy to be reunited with their friends after the absence caused by a man attacking and stabbing children while they were waiting for the bus, along with the parents who came to see them off.

A girl in the sixth grade and the father of another student died in the frenzied attack. Another 18 people were injured in the stabbing rampage, the majority of whom were students.

The school's head of secretariat, Hiroaki Takamatsu, said on Wednesday there were concerns that the students might return distressed or traumatized.

"We were worried about how the children would feel, but they didn't seem to be too distressed, which is a relief," Takamatsu said.

The school on Wednesday had counselors on hand to help the children deal with possible issues of bereavement and trauma associated with the attack.

The children were also briefed about new safety protocols for them to follow when commuting to and from school.

The attack site continued to attract mourners Wednesday, with many still wanting to pay their respects to the lives lost and to those injured in the shocking attack last week, that rocked the nation.

Wielding two knives, Ryuichi Iwasaki, 51, a jobless recluse who was in care and had little connection with his elderly aunt and uncle he was living with, moving swiftly from victim to victim, stabbed and slashed them one by one as they were lining up for the bus to arrive.

The entire bloody rampage on a residential street in Kawasaki City that began at around 7:40 a.m. local time, lasted less than 20 seconds and took place over a distance of 50 meters along the street, video surveillance cameras showed.

The attack by Iwasaki, who later died of self-inflicted wounds, was believed to be premeditated. His motive, however, still remains unknown.

[ Editor: WPY ]


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