Eight people are recovering after police say a vehicle slammed into pedestrians in downtown Tokyo during a New Year's celebration early Tuesday morning.
A policeman (R) stands next to a roped-off crime scene after a man drove into the crowd on New Year's Eve on Takeshita Street in Tokyo's fashion district of Harajuku.
Kazuhiro Kusakabe, 21, was arrested and being questioned, Tokyo Metropolitan Police said on customary condition of anonymity.
The street was closed to vehicular traffic at the time as it was expected to be crowded with people, including those making New Year's visits to the nearby Meiji Shrine, one of the biggest Shinto shrines in Japan.
Eight people were injured in the incident.
NHK reported that Kusakabe told police he was acting in "retribution for the death penalty".
He is suspected of intentionally trying to kill people by driving the vehicle into them in the street.
Kusakabe told the police he had meant to kill the pedestrians he hit "in retaliation for an execution".
One witness told NHK it was a "ghastly scene".
Police said a large tank filled with kerosene was found in the vehicle. Another witness, who runs a clothing shop in the area, said: "I am shocked that something like this happened on Takeshita Street".
One college student sustained serious injuries during the attack and was undergoing surgery, the police spokesman said.
Police arrested a man in his 20s, but they have not revealed any further details on the driver.
A ninth man was slightly injured after the driver had allegedly struck him after getting out of the auto.
Meanwhile in Germany, police have detained a 50-year-old man on suspicion of ramming his vehicle into a crowd of people after midnight on New Year's Eve at a crowded plaza in the north-western town of Bottrop. As of 5 a.m. local time, most people had dispersed from the area, Kyodo reported.