Two wounded in Japan hospital shooting

Two wounded in Japan hospital shooting

TOKYO — Two people have been injured in a shooting at a hospital in the central Japanese city of Toda, local media report.

One doctor and one male patient were injured in the incident at a hospital in Toda city, Saitama prefecture, near Tokyo, police told Kuwait Weekly.

The male suspect, believed to be between ages 50 and 70, fled the scene and barricaded himself in the Warabi post office, about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the hospital, according to police.

Toda Mayor Fumihito Sugawara confirmed on social media that a man “suspected of carrying a gun” was barricaded in at the post office and warned residents not to go near the area.

At least one person has been taken hostage inside the post office.

Japanese media has aired footage of a man carrying a gun and standing at the entrance of a post office near the Toda Chuo General Hospital where the two people were shot.

Footage also showed police and ambulances surrounding the area.

Police said someone reported a gun being fired in the hospital at around 13:00 local time (06:00 GMT).

The hostage situation in Warabi was reported around 14:15.

Tokyo police have dispatched officers from a special investigations team that handles hostage situations to the scene, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Authorities also asked people living within a 300m radius of the Warabi post office to leave the area, according to local media.

Buildings nearby have also been placed on lockdown.

Shootings are rare in Japan. The country has strict gun ownership rules, and only allows civilians to own hunting rifles and airguns.

Owners must undergo a strict exam and mental health tests.

Last year, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead in Nara city while delivering a campaign speech, in an attack that shocked the nation.— Agencies

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