It was a crazy start to the week with a 24-hour police manhunt for a certified insane violent man with a gun in our neighborhood. It sounds like a movie and something that rarely happens in Japan. It started on Sunday morning with a 33-year old man stabbing a policeman in the neighboring suburb of Suita and stealing his gun. This led to a manhunt all day on Sunday and into the evening. Our city of Minoh recommended schools close and people stay in their homes while the perpetrator was at large. This led to a lot of work for us alerting the community that our school was going to delayed if he was not caught before 6:00 AM and closed if he was still on the loose by 10:00 AM.
I got up early 5:00 AM and saw that he was not caught yet and so sent an email to the school that we were delayed until further notice. A little later on, I received a text message from a friend saying that there were lots of police in the Minoh Hills National Park near our house. I went out on my bike and saw the policeman below speeding towards the hills. The thundering sound of helicopters overhead made the ambiance even more gripping.
I followed the sound until I saw a commotion at a small supermarket about 5 minutes from our house. In reading the reports later, the guy was caught sleeping on a bench in the national park. The gun was in a plastic bag below the bench and he was taken into custody without incident at 6:35 AM. We started school a bit later in the morning.
It was interesting to see the reactions of the Japanese, a society with almost no guns. People were very alarmed and frightened. A mentally unstable man with a gun with 5 bullets in it in the USA would describe a certain percentage of the population. But here in Japan, with guns so rare, it caused a lot of people to panic. There was not much traffic downtown Osaka on Sunday because people were really staying in their homes. It was strange that the guy was right in our neighborhood. We always go up into the hills for hikes and bike riding and have been on the bench where he was captured before.
It was a double tragedy with the young policeman in a coma and the mentally unstable man in jail. His father called police to identify him after his photo was shared from a surveillance camera. It is nice to live in a culture without any guns. I don’t have any answers for mentally ill people.
Today marks the 1-year anniversary of the Great Northern Osaka Earthquake . It seems like every June, something dramatic happens in Minoh.