2 people dead after man sets himself on fire on Japanese bullet train

Dec 19 2017, 3:57 pm

Two people have died after a man set himself on fire on a Japanese bullet train heading from Tokyo to Osaka on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

The man reportedly poured an oil-like liquid over his head before setting himself ablaze using a lighter. He was sitting in the front of the first car of the train.

Around 26 other people were injured because of smoke inhalation.

“I said to myself, ‘This is bad!'” said Takeo Inariyama, a 54-year-old businessman travelling in the second car. “I saw everyone running toward me and smoke coming. Also the smell (of smoke) filled the car. So I felt my life was in danger.”

The train stopped about 80 kilometres west of Tokyo when a passenger pressed an emergency button after finding a woman collapsed on the floor near the washroom.

She was later pronounced dead at the scene due to smoke inhalation.

Witness accounts vary. One person told Tokyo Broadcasting System in a telephone interview that the man approached him and told him to stay away, as it might be dangerous. He then poured an orange liquid all over himself.

Another 58-year-old witness told NHK that the man walked up and down the aisles a few times before coming back with a container that splashed the mysterious liquid on his shoulder as he passed by.

He left after the man poured the liquid on the floor and the smell of gasoline filled the car.

Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, but it’s relatively rare for people to set themselves on fire.

Bullet trains in Japan operate at speeds of up to 320 kilometres per hour.