Few details were immediately available about the incident, in which a man dressed in camouflage stabbed a woman with a knife and shot what appeared to be a hunting rifle in the city of Nakano in Nagano prefecture, central Japan, NHK national television said.
Two police officers also died, and one person was injured, NHK added. The injured person is still believed to be lying nearby the scene of the incident, the public broadcaster reported.
The perpetrator is believed to be barricaded in the house of the city council president and multiple gunshots were heard nearby the site, Kyodo news agency reported.
Crimes involving guns are extremely rare in Japan, where gun ownership is tightly regulated and anyone seeking to own a gun must go through a rigorous process before a licence is granted.
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