'They cannot believe something like this happened in Ireland' - Friends of Japanese man killed in Dundalk stunned at murder
A friend of the Japanese man stabbed to death in an attack in Dundalk has said he was a calm and gentle man who really liked living in Ireland.
Yosuke Sasaki (24), died after being stabbed in the back as he made his way home from work on Avenue Road at around 9am on Wednesday. Two other men were attacked in the town shortly after Yosuke was stabbed.
Mohammed Morei (18), has been charged with Yosuke’s murder.
Family and friends of Yosuke are struggling to come to terms with his death.
His pal Ken Sasaki, who is from Japan but became friends with Yosuke while they were both living in Ireland, said he is shocked and devastated.
“He was so friendly and talkative. He was a very kind person. He was always calm and gentle to every single person he’d meet. If I was to describe him in one word it would be great,” Ken said.
He explained how Yosuke ended up in Ireland.
“He wanted to improve his English. That’s why he came to Ireland.”
Yosuke was making his way home from his work in the National Pen company in Dundalk when he was stabbed.
He was wearing headphones and was attacked from behind, so is unlikely to have seen his attacker coming.
He worked in telesales, dealing with Japanese speaking customers. According to friends, he was going to go the post office after his shift before heading home so was walking a different route to the one he would normally take.
He was originally from Ebina City in Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan, but had been living in Ireland for more than a year.
“He had been there around one-and-a-half years,” said Ken. “He really liked the atmosphere and the Irish.”
He added that Yosuke had no plans to leave Ireland any time soon.
“He wanted to stay longer.”
He said that friends of Yosuke can’t understand why he would have been targeted.
“They can’t understand why a Japanese person was targeted in Dundalk. They cannot believe something like this has happened in Ireland. We believed Ireland is such a peaceful country.
“Friends of Yosuke can’t understand why he was chosen and why he was killed. Why did this have to happen to my friend?”
A candlelight vigil is to be held in memory of Mr Sasaki at the Maid of Eireann statue outside Dundalk courthouse this evening between 7pm and 8pm.
Councillor John McGahon, chairman of Dundalk Municipal District, confirmed that a representative from the Japanese Embassy will be in attendance and will speak.
"This is a joint event that has been organised by all members of the district to show our unity with Yosuke and his family," he said.
Books of condolence will also be open at the offices of the council in Dundalk, Drogheda and Ardee this morning.
Morei appeared in court charged with the murder of Mr Sasaki at a special sitting of Dundalk District Court on Thursday evening.
Defence solicitor Barry Callan asked that his client receive "appropriate medical treatment while in custody".
The judge directed that all appropriate psychological and medical treatment be provided to Mr Morei.
The judge remanded Mr Morei in custody until next Thursday at 10am at Cloverhill District Court.
There was no application for bail.