Police officers responded to the reports of a shooting and stabbing incident in Japan’s Nagano region Thursday in which at least three people were killed including two police officers, state media NHK World reported.
Police earlier said that a masked man carrying a rifle and a knife was holed up in a building in Nagano after attacking at least four people.
NHK public television reported citing a witness that a woman fell while being chased by the suspect, who then stabbed her with a knife and shot at two police officers as they arrived at the scene.
According to the police, three of the victims were taken to a nearby hospital, including the woman, and were later pronounced dead.
As per the police description, the suspect was a man wearing a camouflage outfit, a hat, a mask and sunglasses, Kyodo News agency said. City officials urged those in the area to stay home.
According to CBS News reports, Japan’s strict laws on private gun ownership have surprising origins in the United States. When the US occupied Japan after World War II, it disarmed the country. Americans shaped the legislation that took firearms largely out of the hands of Japanese civilians.
As per CNN, in 2018, Japan a country of 125 million people, only had nine deaths from firearms — compared with 39,740 that year in the United States, according to data compiled by the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney.
But the country was shocked by a shooting last year that reverberated around the world as the country’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead during a campaign speech in Nara in July.
Getting hold of a firearm in Japan is extremely difficult and the suspect in Abe’s shooting used a homemade weapon.