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Three people, including two police officers, have been in Nagano in central this morning, with a suspect armed with a and knife holed up inside a building, according to police and media reports. A witness told NHK public television that a woman fell while being chased by the suspect, who then stabbed her with a knife and shot at two police officers as they arrived at the scene in Nakano city in the prefecture of Nagano.

The three were taken to a nearby hospital, where the woman was later pronounced dead, police said.

The two police officers also died later, according to NHK.

A fourth person who was injured could not be rescued because he was near where the suspect was holed up, Kyodo News agency reported.

Television footage on NHK showed uniformed police wearing bulletproof vests and carrying shields with an ambulance nearby.

Pictures also showed police cars racing to the scene.

Police described the suspect as a man wearing a camouflage outfit, a hat, a mask and sunglasses, Kyodo News said.

City officials have urged those in the area to stay home.

No other details, including about the suspect and his motives, were immediately known.

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Gun violence is rare in Japan, which has one of the lowest gun crime rates in the world as a result of extremely strict laws relating to firearms control.

In 2018, just nine deaths from firearms were reported compared with 39,740 in the United States, data published by the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney revealed.

Nevertheless, the nation was shocked last year when Shinzo Abe, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, was shot dead during a campaign speech in Nara.

Even in that instance however, the attacker used a handmade gun.

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