20297
2 Dead in Japan Train Fire
International

2 Dead in Japan Train Fire

A man set himself on fire on a high-speed bullet train in Japan on Tuesday, killing himself and another passenger as the coach filled with smoke, a fire official said.
At least 26 other people were injured, three seriously, mostly from smoke inhalation, Odawara Fire Department official Ikutaro Torii said. The man’s motive was not clear, AP reported.
The passenger poured an oil-like substance over his head before setting himself on fire, authorities said. Kyodo News service reported that he used a lighter.
Officials said the fire was at the front of the first car of the train, which was heading from Tokyo to Osaka.
The 16-car bullet train, called Shinkansen in Japanese, travels the 553 kilometers (343 miles) between Tokyo and Osaka in 2 hours and 33 minutes.
The train stopped on the outskirts of Odawara city, about 80 km west of Tokyo, when a passenger pressed an emergency button after finding someone collapsed on the floor near a restroom at the back of the first car, a transport ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
The passenger on the floor, a woman, was later pronounced dead, reportedly from inhaling smoke.
Japan’s suicide rate is among the world’s highest, and a number of people jump off station platforms in front of approaching trains every year. Self-immolation, though, is relatively rare. Two occurred last year, one fatal, but both were political protests.

 

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