A man dressed in Batman’s Joker costume has been arrested for attempted murder after a knife and fire attack on a train in Tokyo, according to Japanese media, with at least 17 people reportedly injured and one in a serious condition after being stabbed.
Witnesses told national broadcaster NHK of their fear during the attack which happened on Sunday when the Japanese capital is full of Halloween revellers, many in costume.
Media reports said the alleged perpetrator, aged in his 20s and wearing a green shirt and indigo suit, attacked people with a knife and started a fire on the train.
A video clip published by NHK showed panicked passengers running down the train as smoke filled the carriage, with flames also visible. Another video posted on Twitter showed people climbing through windows to escape the Keio line train at a station.
The line operator said services had been partially suspended after “an incident involving injuries” took place just before 8pm near Kokuryo in city’s western suburbs.
“First I thought it was something like a Halloween event. But I rushed away as a man carrying a long knife came in. I was very fortunate not to be injured,” a man who was on the train told NHK.
The attacker carried out the act without showing any emotion, a female passenger said.
“He held a knife and started spreading liquid,” she said. “He was committing this act without showing any emotion, just mechanically. I think that brought fear to everyone.”
Kyodo News said 15 people had been injured in the attack, with NHK reporting 17 were hurt with a man in his 60s stabbed and in serious condition.
Dozens of firefighters and police officers were seen working outside the station.
Violent crime is rare in Japan, but in August nine people were wounded, one of them seriously, in a stabbing on a commuter train in Tokyo, with the suspectfleeing the scene and later handing himself in.
In a separate attack in August, two people suffered burns in an acid attack at a Tokyo subway station.
Japan has strict gun laws, but there are occasional violent crimes involving other weapons. In 2019, a man killed two people including a schoolgirl and wounded more than a dozen in a rampage that targeted children as they waited for a bus.
And in 2018, a man was arrested in central Japan after stabbing one person to death and injuring two others on a bullet train.