A man went on a stabbing rampage in Japan’s Kawasaki City, southwest of central Tokyo, on Tuesday morning, seriously injuring at least 16 people.
At least eight elementary school children were among those injured, according to reports citing local authorities.
At least two people are feared dead. One child and an adult were found without vital signs after the attack, public broadcaster NHK reported, citing police.
The attack took place during morning rush hour.
One eyewitness told NHK that the attack occurred by a bus stop.
“I heard the sound of lots of ambulances and I saw a man lying near a bus stop bleeding,” the man, who was not identified, told NHK. “There is another bus stop near the elementary school and I also saw elementary schoolchildren lying on the ground … It’s a quiet neighborhood, it’s scary to see this kind of thing happen.”
A man who appears to be in his 40s or 50s has been detained as a suspect, according to Japan Times.
NHK reported that he had stabbed himself and is currently unconscious in a serious condition.
According to the public broadcaster, the man began slashing at people as they were waiting at a bus stop. Two knives, along with some victims, were found in a nearby park, it said.
Scores of officials including policemen and firemen were present at Kawasaki’s Tama Ward, near Noborito Station.
“I heard fire engines coming in the morning and I saw a man lying on the ground bleeding,” a man who lives nearby told NHK. “I saw many elementary school children lying on the ground near a school bus stop. School rucksacks were scattered all over the place.”
Dai Nagase, spokesman for the Kawasaki Fire Department, told AFP: “We received an emergency call at 7:44 a.m., which said four elementary schoolchildren were stabbed.”
No motive to the attack has been deduced so far.
U.S. President Donald Trump has sent his condolences to the victims, saying that “Americans stand” with Japan and the victims of the mass stabbing.
Violent crime is rare in Japan but there have periodically been high-profile incidents that have shocked the nation.
In 2018, a man was arrested in central Japan after he stabbed one person to death and injured two others on a bullet train.
In 2016, a man stabbed and killed 19 people in a disability center south of Tokyo.
A stabbing spree on a school bus and a commuter bus in a Tokyo suburb in 2010 injured more than a dozen people.
Two years earlier, a 28-year-old man drove a truck into a crowded pedestrian crossing in Tokyo, killing three people, and then fatally stabbed four more.
Reuters contributed to this report.