Tokyo, Jun 14 (EFE).- At least two Japanese soldiers were killed on Wednesday when a young recruit opened fire at an army training camp in Gifu, marking the latest violent incident to have rocked the country.
The incident took place at the Hino firing range in the central Gifu prefecture, which belongs to the 10th division of the ground forces, around 9 am on Wednesday, with the circumstances still being investigated by authorities.
Earlier, Japanese spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno had confirmed the incident and said that the shooter had been arrested.
The detainee is said to be a trainee soldier aged 18, who has been arrested for attempt to murder, according to local media outlets.
“The shooter is already under arrest but no further details can be given because it is a case under investigation,” Matsuno had said.
An army spokeswoman told EFE it is investigating whether it was an accident or an intentional attack.
State television NHK said the shooting was apparently carried out with an automatic rifle.
Local media showed images of various fire, ambulance and police vehicles thronging to the military installations where the event took place.
The shooting comes three weeks after a man armed with a hunting rifle and a sharp weapon killed four people – including two police officers – before entrenching himself at his home.
This was the first violent incident since 1990 to have caused more than two officers in a country where homicide and gun violence rates are among the lowest in the world.
Japan enforces strict norms on gun ownership, which is banned except in special cases such as for members of the security forces or for hunting.
Less than a year ago in July 2022, former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead during an outdoor electoral campaign meeting by a man who used a home-made shotgun.
Recently, in mid-April, current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was the target of a failed assassination attempt during a campaign meeting, when a man lobbed a home-made bomb at the leader, although the artefact exploded after his successful evacuation. EFE