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Slasher attacks Japan pop girl group AKB48 at fan event

Japanese women's pop group AKB48
(Reuters) - A man wielding a saw slashed and injured two members of Japanese female pop group AKB48, rated by Guinness as the world's biggest such group, at a fan event in Japan, leaving the country stunned at the extremely rare violent crime.

The group, known for its perky routines, was shaking hands with fans at a meet-and-greet function on Sunday, when the man attacked them with a weapon described variously as a 50-cm (20-inch)-long saw or a hatchet, Japanese media said.

"This sort of thing is unimaginable," one fan told Japanese television. "I'm in shock."

Group members Rina Kawaei,19, and Anna Iriyama, 18, received emergency surgery for cut and broken fingers, with Iriyama also suffering cuts to the face, media said.

"The surgery ended successfully and their condition is stable," their manager said. "They should be able to leave hospital tomorrow."

A male staff member received cuts to his hand.

Police arrested a 24-year-old high school dropout for attempted murder after the event, in the northeastern city of Takizawa, was interrupted by screams of "Stop!" and "No!"

There were no bag checks, and fans have said most of the group's events have only cursory checks at best, prompting newspapers to call for tighter security. The incident featured on several newspaper front pages and television shows.

Security checks tend to be light in Japan, which has stiff gun control laws, and violent crime involving weapons is rare.

AKB48, founded in 2005, is known for its high "kawaii," or cuteness, quotient, and all its members are in their teens or early 20s.

Fans vote each year to determine 64 of the most popular girls from a 237-member pool, who then rotate in and out of four main troupes and several affiliated groups, based on their popularity.

The "AKB" in the group's name is a reference to Akihabara, Tokyo's high-tech mecca, where it has a theater. They are also popular overseas, with a sister group based in Jakarta.

Every year fans elect the most popular members of the group, obtaining a ballot by buying the group's latest CD. Some hard-core fans buy hundreds to give their favorite a boost.

A Tokyo concert by the group scheduled for Monday night has been canceled, as have other meet-and-greets, their management company said on its website.

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niceguy71653 May 26 2014 at 12:45 PM

They need to require a background check on everyone who wants to buy a saw. Institute a 10 day waiting period. And no more than 10 teeth per inch. Those 30 teeth saws just have to be outlawed.

Flag Reply +34 rate up
26 replies
whiteglint03 May 26 2014 at 1:34 PM

If this was the U.S. the guy would have had a gun with a high capacity mag and killed the whole group and several bystanders before he was stopped.

Flag Reply +16 rate up
5 replies
HOn3Modeler May 26 2014 at 12:55 PM

Can't believe it.......In Japan? AND nobodfy here in the USSA is blaming the NRA! I guess they have the same Mental Health issues we have, just not as many of them!

Flag Reply +10 rate up
4 replies
eagle3636 May 26 2014 at 2:47 PM

so glad they have stiff cun control and no mass murders!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
6 replies
gmgpjandon May 26 2014 at 12:20 PM

Get accustomed to such. History proves it will get worse.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
savannahswithgod gmgpjandon May 26 2014 at 5:58 PM

Include WW3 into that, nobodies saving anybody's economy!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Bitter Twitter May 26 2014 at 12:46 PM

I must be behind the times but who is Kim Kardashian -

Flag Reply +4 rate up
13 replies
Pllc15 May 26 2014 at 3:22 PM

The UC Santa Barbara killings and now this has a common thread of men who dislike women. Japan is squeaky safe that makes attacks such as this one unheard of.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
3 replies
enyaluna1 May 26 2014 at 2:46 PM

It’s so sad what our world is turning into. The last hope and safe place Japan-- a 24-year old high school dropped out committed heinous crime. I have very little hope that our future children will live in a safer world. Tragic!!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
savannahswithgod enyaluna1 May 26 2014 at 6:03 PM

Just guess if he had graduated what he could have done? And then a degree from the college? Degree's on the wall, a nice music biz, invite the girls in and saw them up there? That degree would have done it too, powerful them degree's.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
cary savannahswithgod May 26 2014 at 6:30 PM

Being a high school dropout in Japan results in shame and rejection. In America, some sub-cultures wear "Drop out" as a badge of honor.

Flag +4 rate up
valgaavmiko savannahswithgod May 26 2014 at 10:35 PM

@cary Uh, no it doesn't? I'm not even sure where you got that idea other than stereotypes. High school is not required in Japan.

Flag 0 rate up
jai.hye enyaluna1 May 26 2014 at 8:03 PM

"I have very little hope that our future children will live in a safer world. Tragic!!"

Agree totally....however, the puzzling thing is that folk continue to reproduce regardless of the insanity that surrounds us.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
fred jai.hye May 26 2014 at 8:45 PM

You just need to move to Harlen County!

Flag 0 rate up
Escalonz May 26 2014 at 2:12 PM

We're not the only country that has their fair share of loose cannons. Loony toon times anyone?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
savannahswithgod Escalonz May 26 2014 at 6:08 PM

First some more Hannah Montana's running around in short skirts and high heels, singing and dancing. Then we'll get to looney time. Or maybe just waif off and think about those short skirts and high heels, my what we could do. And from Japan too?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
doonooch Escalonz May 27 2014 at 6:35 AM

true, but at least they dont have guns,...

Flag Reply 0 rate up
drooster47 May 26 2014 at 5:45 PM

And who can blame him ?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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