A knife-wielding man broke into a facility for the disabled in a small town near Tokyo early Tuesday and killed 19 patients as they slept, authorities said, Japan’s worst mass killing since World War Two.

At least 25 other residents were wounded in the attack at the facility for mentally and physically disabled.

The suspect was a 26-year-old former employee of the facility who gave himself up to police. The man, said in letters he wrote in February that he could “obliterate 470 disabled people”.

He said he would kill 260 severely disabled people at two areas in the facility during a night shift, and would not hurt employees.

“My goal is a world in which the severely disabled can be euthanized, with their guardians’ consent, if they are unable to live at home and be active in society,” he wrote in the two letters.

The suspect was committed to hospital after he expressed a “willingness to kill severely disabled people”, . He was freed on March 2 after a doctor deemed he had improved, the official said.

He lived near the facility, and a neighbor described him as a polite, young man who always greeted him with a smile.



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