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Escape Footage Emerges After Man Sets Himself on Fire Aboard Bullet Train in Japan

The man doused himself in a liquid substance before setting himself on fire aboard the train, filling the car with smoke and killing himself and another woman in the process.

by VICE News
Jun 30 2015, 5:20pm

Photo by Reuters

Two people died on a bullet train in Japan on Tuesday after a man set himself on fire, taking his own life and killing another passenger as the train traveled near the city of Odawara.

Before using a lighter to set himself ablaze, the man, reportedly in his 30s, is said to have doused himself in an unidentified liquid substance. At the time, the train was traveling between Osaka and Tokyo and was on the edge of Odawara, which is located about 50 miles west of Tokyo.

Another passenger forced the train to a stop just on the outskirts of Odawara by pressing its emergency button after coming across a female who had collapsed on the floor. The 50-year-old woman was later confirmed dead from smoke inhalation.

Footage of the aftermath of the incident, which includes passengers escaping, was posted on The Guardian's website on Tuesday.


About 1,000 passengers were forced off the train when it finally arrived at the station in Odawara. It takes 2 hours and 33 minutes for the high-speed bullet train to travel from Osaka to Tokyo, but service was suspended for two hours after the incident on Tuesday. This is the first death on Japan's bullet train since it began running in 1964.

A total of 26 people were injured in the incident, largely due to smoke inhalation, according to Odawara Fire Department official Ikutaro Torii.

Eyewitness accounts of the incident varied, with one man telling local TV station NHK that the passenger paced up and down the train aisles and then later poured liquid that smelled like gasoline on the floor of the car.

Despite high suicide rates in Japan, reports of self-immolation are uncommon. In 2014, two self-immolations which were acts of political protest took place. For Japanese men between the ages of 44 and 20, suicide has become the most common cause of death.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.