Suspected gunman holds hostage at post office near Tokyo | ET REALITY

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A man believed to have a gun was hiding in a post office in a Tokyo suburb on Tuesday and held one hostage after freeing another, in an episode that was disturbing in Japan, where gun violence is extremely rare.

An employee at the Warabi City Post Office called police around 2:15 p.m. and said there was an armed man inside, according to Taira Masuda, spokesperson for the Saitama Prefectural Police Headquarters. The hostages were two female postal workers in their 20s and 30s, police said, and negotiators are speaking with the suspect by phone. At around 7:15 p.m., public broadcaster NHK showed images of a woman in her 20s leaving the post office unharmed.

The call, Masuda said, came about an hour after two men, one in his 40s and another in his 60s, were shot at a nearby hospital in the city of Toda. Another official, the mayor of Toda, said on social media that a man fired a gun at the Toda Chuo General Hospital and fled on a motorcycle.

The suspect has not made any demands, police told NHK. The station’s footage shows how the woman who was released on Tuesday night bowed as she left the post office.

Students and teachers at a dozen elementary schools and six middle schools in Toda were closed, according to a spokesperson for the Toda City Board of Education.

Mayor Fumihito Sugawara, in a statement on

The post office where the suspect was holding hostages was less than a mile from the Toda hospital. According to NHK, the two men shot at the hospital, a doctor and a patient, had non-life-threatening injuries.

A hospital spokesperson referred inquiries to police.

Japan has some of the strictest laws in the world for purchasing firearms, and fatal shootings are extremely rare. Last year, Shinzo Abe, former prime minister, was killed by a gunman during a political campaign speech. It was one of four gunshot deaths in all of 2022.

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