Tokyo: Three people were killed and one injured in a shooting and stabbing incident in a city in rural Japan on Thursday, with the perpetrator having barricaded himself inside a building, media reported.
Few details were immediately available about the incident, in which a man dressed in camouflage stabbed a woman with a knife and shot what appeared to be a hunting rifle in the city of Nakano in Nagano prefecture, central Japan, NHK national television reported.
The three victims were taken to a nearby hospital, where a woman was later pronounced dead, police said. Two police officers also died, and a fourth person was injured, NHK added.
A witness told NHK public television 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 in a patrol.
The perpetrator was believed to be barricaded in the house of the city council president and multiple gunshots were heard nearby the site, Kyodo news agency reported.
Video on NHK showed police wearing bulletproof vests and carrying shields, with an ambulance nearby. The area is in a quiet farming neighbourhood.
Crimes involving guns are extremely rare in Japan, where gun ownership is tightly regulated and anyone seeking to own a gun must go through a rigorous process before a licence is granted. There are only a handful of gun-related crimes annually.
However, in recent years there have been some high-profile cases involving random knife attacks on subways and arson attacks, and there is growing concern about homemade guns and explosives.