Police in central Japan’s Aichi Prefecture entered a bank and captured a man with a knife who was demanding Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda resign. While one hostage had been released the night before, the remaining four were rescued and found to be unharmed. The 32 year old hostage taker, Koji Nagakubo, began the standoff at the Zoshi branch of the Toyokawa Shinkin Bank just after 2:00 PM on Thursday, holding the hostages for more than 12 hours.
At a morning news conference, a police spokesman said the raid took place just before dawn, and while one hostage, a 19 year old female bank employee, sustained minor injuries to her arm, everyone was ok. Police officers armed with shields and protective gear broke a window on the second story of the bank, then proceeded to rush into the office and overpower the suspect. He was wielding a large hunting knife and at least one hostage was in handcuffs. The spokesman added that their top priority was to ensure the safety of the hostages.
Nagakubo has given investigators very little explanation on his motive for the actions, other than yesterday’s statement that he wanted Prime Minister Noda to resign and wanted to “express his thoughts.” He has been arrested for and admits to taking the five people hostage. Noda actually called for a general election just last week, and it’s scheduled to be held on December 16th. The public is very dissatisfied with his cabinet right now, and it is widely expected that he will lose, having to step down anyway.