Van ploughs into Tokyo pedestrians headed for New Year's prayers

Policemen stand next to a car which ploughed into pedestrians on New Year day in Tokyo, Japan, January 1, 2019.Image copyright

A small van has ploughed into pedestrians celebrating the New Year on one of Tokyo’s most famous streets.

Eight people were injured, one seriously, by the attacker who struck in the Harajuku fashion district shortly after midnight.

The street, which was sealed off to traffic, was packed with people heading to a shrine for New Year’s prayers.

A man was arrested, with a police spokesman telling AFP news agency he had an “intent to murder”.

The 21-year-old was identified as Kazuhiro Kusakabe.

Police told NHK news agency that he initially told then he had conducted a terrorist act, but then later claimed it was related to executions. It was not clear if he was referring to a specific execution or capital punishment in general.

Takeshita Street in Shibuya ward is a popular shopping area for young people.

One male university student is in critical condition in hospital.