Attack victim on bullet train died protecting two wounded women
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Kotaro Umeda (Provided by his family)
ODAWARA, Kanagawa Prefecture--Kotaro Umeda, the passenger who was viciously attacked on a Shinkansen bullet train on June 9, died while saving the lives of two injured women fleeing the hatchet-wielding assailant, police said.
Umeda suffered dozens of cuts to his shoulder and chest, as well as a gash on the front of his neck, which is believed to have been the fatal wound.
Ichiro Kojima, 22, from Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, was arrested after the attack on Car No. 12 of the Osaka-bound Nozomi No. 265 bullet train, which was traveling between Shin-Yokohama and Odawara stations on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Around 9:45 p.m., Kojima slashed a woman, 27, who was sitting to his right. He then cut another woman, 26, who had been sitting to his left across the aisle and was fleeing the scene, according to police.
The two women ran up the aisle, and Kojima started to give chase. But Umeda, a 38-year-old company employee from Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, who had been sitting two rows behind the three, stopped Kojima.
The two struggled, and Kojima slashed Umeda with a rectangular-headed hatchet. Kojima remained silent as he kept hacking Umeda even after he had fallen to the train floor and the train conductor urged him to stop, according to police.
He was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder.
On June 11, his case was sent to prosecutors on suspicion of murder.
The injuries to the two women were not considered life-threatening.
“I feel extreme guilt because he died to save my life,” one of the women said June 10 through a lawyer. “I am praying for the repose of his soul with all my heart.”
In a statement through a lawyer on June 10, Umeda’s family members said no words can describe their feelings right now, and they asked that they not be disturbed.
BASF Japan, Umeda’s employer, issued a statement on June 11, praising his “very courageous act” to save other passengers.
“It is extremely regrettable that we suddenly lost a precious member of our staff,” the statement said. “We feel strong indignation.”