Man dies after setting himself on fire on bullet train, women killed, scores injured

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TOKYO – A man set himself ablaze on a Shinkansen bullet train on Tuesday, killing himself and a female passenger in the fire and injuring scores of others on the super express train.
The report said that the train was forced to make an emergency stop southwest of Tokyo just before noon.
Eyewitnesses, police and fire fighters said that a man doused himself in an accelerant thought to be oil he was carrying in a plastic canister and continued to set fire to himself using a lighter.
It said the man had caused the most serious incident ever on a Shinkansen in the trains’ spotless safety history.
Rescue officials also confirmed that out of the 800 passengers on board, 26 people were also injured in the blaze, with two described by firefighters as being in a “critical condition.”
Police said that the train’s driver made an emergency stop between southwest Tokyo near the coastal city of Odawawa in Kanagawa Prefecture after a loud blast was heard coming from a toilet stall.
Smoke quickly filled the front car of the train, forcing passengers to the rear, some on their hands and knees holding handkerchiefs to their mouths because of the smoke and fumes.
They added that it was in fact the train’s crew members including the driver of the train that extinguished the man’s still burning body as the train’s rescue alarm sounded, alerting other passengers to escape.
Rescue officials also said they found the dead body of a lady in her 50s who had collapsed between cars No. 1 and 2, although it was unclear whether she had died of smoke inhalation, asphyxiation or a cardiac arrest.
Police have launched an investigation into the incident and believe that the man who self-immolated was a 71-year-old from Suginami Ward in Tokyo.
Before dousing himself in what was described by eyewitnesses as an orange-looking liquid believed to be some form of oil, the man attempted to give at least one passenger, a 1,000 yen bill while telling them to escape to the back of the train.
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One woman was quoted by local media as saying that as soon as she declined to accept the money he doused himself with the accelerant and set himself on fire.
As she fled to the rear of the train, she said the man was fully ablaze as she glanced back before fleeing the car.
Police said the motive for the man’s suicide and arson attack was not immediately clear, although some observers were quick to note that the latest self-immolation cases in Japan were politically motivated.
In November 2014, a man set himself on fire in a park adjacent to the Diet building following a sizable public protest to PM Shinzo Abe’s planned to reinterpret the nation’s war- renouncing Constitution.
Another man set himself ablaze in June 2014 on top of a pedestrian bridge in Shinjuku, one of the busiest parts of Tokyo known for hosting government-related building and offices, as well as regular offices and a sprawling shopping district.
Using a megaphone prior to setting himself on fire, the man told the stunned onlooking crowd that he was ardently opposed to the PM’s plans to thwart the Constitution to boost the power of Japan’s military.
The government has set up a liaison office at the PM’s office to probe this unprecedented incident on Japan’s iconic bullet train, the network of which was inaugurated ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964.
Report says Japan’s Shinkansens are known for their speed, safety, cleanliness and precision punctuality.
The Tokaido Shinkansen line links Tokyo and Osaka in two hours and 25 minutes with Nozomi trains along this line hitting top speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour on a particular stretch between Shin-Osaka and Hakata. (Xinhua/NAN)
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