A Japanese court on Friday sentenced a 19-year-old man to a prison term of six to 10 years for stabbing two senior high school students and an elderly man near the University of Tokyo on the day of nationwide entrance exams in January last year.
Prosecutors had sought a sentence of seven to 12 years for the man for attempted murder and other charges. The defendant was a second-year senior high school student in Nagoya, central Japan, at the time and his name has been withheld because he was a minor when he committed the crime.
The Tokyo District Court handed down what is known as an indeterminate sentence, stating only the minimum and maximum detention periods. Such sentences, only given to minors under Juvenile Law, take into account a convicted person's age and behavior in prison.
Presiding Judge Yoshihisa Nakao criticized the defendant's actions, saying that his acts were "extremely malicious," in that people who had nothing to do with him were harmed in his quest to end his own life.
"The defendant indiscriminately attacked unguarded victims, which put their lives in danger," the judge said.
During the trial, the defendant admitted to the charges. His defense team sought a rehabilitation order, but the court took a tough stance and rejected the request, concluding that such an outcome would not be considered acceptable by the public.
The man has said he was struggling with poor grades despite his aspirations to become a doctor by entering the prestigious University of Tokyo. He said he thought about killing and injuring people so that he could pressure himself into taking his own life.
According to the ruling and other sources, the man stabbed two third-grade senior high school students from Chiba Prefecture and a man in his 70s in the back in front of a gate to the university's main campus as many people were arriving for nationwide university entrance exams on Jan. 15, 2022.
The injuries were not life-threatening.
His charges also included obstruction of business for throwing away flammable items at the Todaimae subway station, near the University of Tokyo, just before the stabbing.