A photo shows a house where a suspect barricaded himself with a hunting gun in the city of Nakano on May 25, 2023.
According to local police, a rare shooting and stabbing attack in Japan left three dead, including two policemen.
Police received a call late in the afternoon with reports that a “man stabbed a woman,” a Nakano city police officer told CNN.
As officers rushed to the scene, the man fired something resembling a hunting rifle, wounding four people, before fleeing the scene and barricading himself in a building, it added.
The woman was taken to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
NHK later reported that two policemen also died from their injuries and another person was injured.
The suspect was wearing a camouflage hat, top and bottoms with sunglasses and a mask, according to NHK.
The city of Nakano urged citizens to stay at home in a statement posted on social media on Thursday.
The Nakano city police spokesman told CNN that authorities designated an “evacuation zone” with a radius of 300 meters around the scene of the incident.
The police spokesman added that his forces are investigating reports that a gunshot-like sound was heard near the scene hours after the attack.
Gun violence is extremely rare in Japan, a country of 125 million people. It has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world due to its extremely strict gun control laws.
However, Japan was rocked by a shooting last year that reverberated around the world.
Shinzo Abe, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, was shot dead during a campaign speech in Nara in July.
His assassination shocked Japan and the international community, and also raised questions about whether there was enough security to protect him despite Japan’s record as a place of safety.
Obtaining a firearm in Japan is extremely difficult and the suspect in the Abe shooting used a homemade weapon.
In 2022, there were nine firearms incidents in Japan, including the murder of Abe, one less than the previous year, according to the National Police Agency.
Of the nine incidents, six are believed to have been committed by gangs and other groups. In all, four people died and two were injured in the nine incidents.