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Man dead after setting himself on fire in bullet train; woman passenger also dies

98 Comments
By Mari Yamaguchi and Ken Aragaki

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98 Comments
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What a nutcase, people could easily have died from smoke inhalation due to his selfish act. Just lucky no-one did.

-12 ( +12 / -23 )

i wonder if he was trying to protest against something. self-immolation is relatively popular in asia.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

What an A-hole! Say a bit on tv, messed up! Could have been a lot worse!

6 ( +11 / -5 )

BurakuminDes: "What a nutcase, people could easily have died from smoke inhalation due to his selfish act. Just lucky no-one did."

Well, he killed at least ONE other person if he is included in the two found in a state of "cardiopulmonary arrest", which means TWO if he is not. But yes, it's lucky MORE were not killed, and something we can be thankful about in yet ANOTHER case of a coward taking his own life and trying to bring others with him.

7 ( +14 / -8 )

Dreadful news.

What does cardiopulmonary arrest mean?

-5 ( +8 / -12 )

@ Smith - thanks, I left out the "more" in that statement. The mind boggles how many innocent people could easily have died in that carriage. Coward is the right word for him.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I don't usually approve when people criticize people who delay trains by jumping on the track, as their comments appear to lack compassion. However, this guy is a piece of work. Inconveniencing people versus endangering people is a totally different ball park. If you're going to off yourself, do it with a little dignity.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

What does cardiopulmonary arrest mean?

In layman's term: A Heart attack.

-13 ( +10 / -21 )

What does cardiopulmonary arrest mean?

Cardiopulmonary arrest is NOT a "heart attack".

It means when the heart and lungs have stopped functioning (i.e. the person is no longer breathing and no longer has any heart function).

14 ( +17 / -4 )

People going about their daily business get on a train and end up dead. Some mornings when I wake up, I wonder if today will be my last day. Is there anywhere safe anymore?

-4 ( +6 / -9 )

What does cardiopulmonary arrest mean?

It's essentially dead (no heartbeat or breathing), but not yet officially confirmed as such due to the absence of a medical professional.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

According to other news sources there are 2 people ( 1 male 1 female ) dead and more than 20 wounded now.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

what an A-Hole! if he wanted to kill himself he should not involve other innocent people....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Horrific story! and what a way to go! "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set up a task force to respond to the incident" Hows is this anything to do with Abe, surely its a police mater and should be handled as such or is it just a standard p.r stunt? The dear leader is tending for his flock? Maybe the guy was of some stature...

-21 ( +5 / -26 )

No Abe-bashing on this thread, please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm sitting on a local train reading this and realised there is only one fire extinguisher in this carriage and it looks like a paper fire extinguisher (just a water sprayer). It would be pretty useless to put out an oil fire.

Yeah, Japan is a relatively safe country unless some whacko sets himself on fire, randomly slashes you or pushes you in front of a train.

-1 ( +5 / -5 )

Copycat? Like that dude in Hibiya Park who lit himself in flames. I believe that was a political statement opposing Abe's stance on giving the SDF a more active role.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

What does cardiopulmonary arrest mean?

It's a translation of "shinpai teishi", which literally means "lungs and heart stopped." These days the Japanese media seem to use it, possibly for legal reasons, to refer to people who are apparently dead but haven't yet been officially declared dead.

7 ( +8 / -2 )

"cardiopulmonary arrest" Japanese term for dead/died until on official death certificate is issued then dead is dead.

Horrific events and don't know why suicidal people need to involve others in their ending.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Details have emerged that one of the dead is a male in his 30's.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

My sympathies to the other passenger that died as a result of this selfish act as well as those injured and inconvenienced.

I truly hope this man did not leave behind a wife and child(ren). If so, then in addition to dealing with the suicide of their husband/father, they may well be exposed to damages and lawsuits as a result of the circumstances surrounding the suicide.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yeah, Japan is a relatively safe country unless some whacko sets himself on fire, randomly slashes you or pushes you in front of a train.

LoL.@Disillusioned. Coulda' been worse. Sarin Gas attack.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Well, that's not something you see every day. :/

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

What a selfish idiot. If you're going to immolate yourself, at least have the decency to not try to take others down with you...

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

It's interesting that someone can board a train with a large amount of flammable liquids.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Wow, Japan IS getting scarier and scarier. This was a bullet train that my family, friends even I could have been on. WTH??????

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

@ WesternerJapan87 at Jun. 30, 2015 - 03:13PM JST "Details have emerged that one of the dead is a male in his 30's."

The man who self-immolated has been almost certainly identified as a 71-year-old who name has not yet been released. The woman who died appears to have been in her 50s or 60s.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Guys, for those who don't know, "Cardiopulmonary arrest" is the term they use for 'dead' because only a licensed physician can pronounce a person dead, so even police and paramedics (save in very rare cases where it is MORE than obvious, like if the person has exploded or been crushed by a giant rock) cannot legally declare a person dead. They usually get whisked away to a hospital where they are then pronounced dead.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set up a task force to respond to the incident

So, this leads me to believe that this was another constitution change, self immolation protest, probably done on the train for more exposure.

If you have to do it, do it on the steps of Nagatacho.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Jesus - I catch the Nozomi quite often. The poor woman and her family. That guy should rot in hell. One thing is to hurt yourself another thing is to hurt others.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

"ANOTHER case of a coward taking his own life and trying to bring others with him"

Hard to argue with that. If he didn't want to take others with him, he would have done this at home, in an empty park etc. So, let's call him what he is, a terrorist. His no doubt being mentally unhinged doesn't change that fact.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The point I would make is that the toilet area is in between cars, so would, in theory at least, be sealed off from the passenger seating area. How, then, was this woman overcome by smoke? It would only take a few seconds to escape into one of the adjacent compartments.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

The guy was after attention. Just jumping in front of a train ain't gonna do it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@ A.N. Other "The point I would make is that the toilet area is in between cars, so would, in theory at least, be sealed off from the passenger seating area."

Several cars were filled with smoke, so I guess there's something amiss with your theory.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Very sad story. But even more sad is the lack of compassion most commenters display. This man likely was not any of the awful things said about him, but rather, he was very likely mentally ill. Japan has such poor mental healthcare, so few doctors, and such restrictive pharmaceuticals that many people cannot get the care they need. Yet people jump to conclusions and judgments, vilifying this man and thereby making themselves look better. "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set up a task force to respond to the incident

What is the purpose of doing that? I don't understand why a task force was needed?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Not off topic, their corporate sponsors don't like it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@ A.N. Other at Jun. 30, 2015 - 05:49PM JST "I read in another newspaper that the man who killed himself did so in protest at the government. HOW THE HELL IS THAT "OFF TOPIC"?"

What newspaper was that and what sources did they base their report on?

Moderator: We are not aware of any such news reports.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

gogogo

It is not unusual for a prime minister to set up a task force in an incident like this, especially if there is some concern that it might have been a terrorist act, unlikely though that is. It is a prudent decision.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@ gogogo at Jun. 30, 2015 - 05:54PM JST "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set up a task force to respond to the incident

What is the purpose of doing that? I don't understand why a task force was needed?"

Because it was an unprecedented incident on a major transportation route that at first glance might have been a terrorist attack. Sounds like a good enough reason to me.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

kawaisou

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Abura in the dictionary means petroleum products, but in general spoken use means petrol/gasoline/diesel. ( Oil, or engine oil is generally called 'Oiru', as in oiru kokan, or change of oil.)

Listening to the passengers on TV they said it smelt like gasoline or kerosene.

Until the police are sure what exactly was in the tank they will use the neutral word abura, meaning liquid fuel of some kind.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is not only a suicide act but also a terrorist one.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Brent Kooi, I am as compassionate as the next man but it's hard to have sympathy for anyone who takes the life of another.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

for those who DONT KNOW what "cardiopulmonary arrest" is .......... ""Cardiac arrest, also known as cardiopulmonary arrest or circulatory arrest, is a sudden stop in effective blood circulation due to the failure of the heart to contract effectively or at all.[1] Medical personnel may refer to an unexpected cardiac arrest as a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)""

WIKIPEDIA has everything

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

What a horrible way to go.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Apparently it was an 18 liter container of kerosene, which is flammable but not explosive. Good thing it wasn't gasoline, or the entire car would have been obliterated and the train derailed.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

What is the purpose of doing that? I don't understand why a task force was needed?

Abe does nothing else, so get his name in the papers doing something positive... Waste of time though, 71 year old immolating on a train? who knew?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Now all liquid substances will be banned on trains in Japan now because of one nincompoop.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

While I find it impossible to feel any compassion for a person who killed to innocent people while killing himself I also find it pretty obvious that the man was out of his mind. This horrific crime might have been avoided if mental health services in Japan were better. I am also for a tast force looking into this, though I suspect it's conclusions will be of little worth.

I hate to say this but our train services need better security. This guy got flammable substances on board. The damage could have been infinitely worse.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

tragic

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Please! Go kill yourself elsewhere ! No one wants to see you die nor do they want to die with you, you selfish self absorbed twat!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

What a sad new, why no one prevented this accident.. isn't the smell of oil very strong ? Are the others just sat like nothing happened?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I was on that train, Car 6. The strange thing was that we all learned what was going on through Yahoo News, not by train announcements---that just said there was smoke detected, please don't use the toilets, etc......

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Hopefully the JT will provide some clue as to the motives of this 71year old?

If not only the police cares, this is perhaps the only article concerning this incident.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"the businessman quickly left as he smelled gasoline" I see a problem right there. If some dude was pouring gasoline on a train I was on I would hit the emergency button and try to grab the guy.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@Andrew Silberman, please tell us more.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I don't understand how a 'bystander' can have died due to smoke inhalation. Did nobody help the poor lady get out? Was she left alone inside the first car - asleep maybe - until it was too late? Whatever happened, it sounds like the lady wasn't in any way a target, and that is a tragedy for Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Who would have thought that this would be a reality in Japan? Unfortunately, the level of mental illness in Japan is not something that is taken seriously enough. I have seen obviously mental people doing strange things on trains. Hopefully this won't produce a string of copycats....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It is very sad that anyone has to resort to self immolation to end his/other people's life. I truly believe that everyone wants to be happy but at times it just isn't easy in this society of easy finger pointing. no excuse but this is the consequence of our selfish attitude. i see more cursing of the person than any sadness that this person had not been happier. Why is it so easy to accept selfishness by ourselves in our everyday act of alienation of individuals, stepping on others, jeering and yet when such people kill themselves in a way that is not more civic minded (no different from the alienation, selfish stepping, jeering), then he gets blamed more?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ HollisBrown at Jun. 30, 2015 - 09:18PM JST "I don't understand how a 'bystander' can have died due to smoke inhalation."

The usual way, too much smoke in the lungs.

"Did nobody help the poor lady get out?"

Maybe, maybe not. We don't know. Maybe in the dark and chaos no saw her of was able to help her.

"Was she left alone inside the first car - asleep maybe - until it was too late?"

Since she was found in the floor of the deck between Cars 1 & 2, I doubt it.

The unfortunate woman has been identified as s 52-year-old resident of Yokohama.

The man has now been identified by police as a 71-year-old resident of Suginami ward, Tokyo.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@tessa, what would you like to know?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

First, words of condolence for the innocent (in addition to the lady from Yokohama, possibly a man in his 30s?) - the 70-something's in Japan apparently are so self-absorbed [I say if the self immolator was unhinged then it was the responsibility of his peers to ensure he was kept under watch] that the younger generation is being smothered to Japan's detriment; allowing mentally-ill people to roam the streets freely is... nutty. My understanding is that there is a revolutionary imaging system developed by a Japanese inventor {worked together with Ross Perot} which detects problem activities at train stations and onboard, but the Japanese rail operators have ignored it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Andrew Silberman

For starters, were the announcements made in languages other than Japanese?

Thank you.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

There is a lot of harsh condemnation here, and while some of it is justified, I think it's sad that a 71-year-old man should want to kill himself. He could be your father. Yes, it was very wrong of him to endanger others, but surely this must be due to mental illness. We really do need to know what led him to this drastic action. I hope JapanToday will enlighten us in the coming days.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Very sad story. But even more sad is the lack of compassion most commenters display. This man likely was not any of the awful things said about him, but rather, he was very likely mentally ill. [Truth]

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Tessa, no, announcements (the few that were made) were all in Japanese. Most were along the lines of "more information will be given when known...." But everyone has smart phones, and at one point a passenger turned his internet radio on with some volume so everyone knew what was going on....but reacting in the wonderfully (in this case) stoic Japanese manner. You could not even tell something was amiss. Just patiently, almost silently waiting for things to resume to normal. (At least that was in Cars 6, 7, and 8.)

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@Terrance

Sympathy for the mentally ill on this site is like sympathy for Jewish people on a neo-nazi site.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Agree that more compassion all the way around would help. Yes, compassion to the mentally ill guy but far moreso to the victims, one whom he killed and others injured. And now to all of us who will be thinking twice about any odd behavior on trains whenever we get on them.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I guess this is one of those rare occasions when you can refer to a 71-year-old man as "smokin' hot."

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I hope the powers that be do not greatly increase security measures. I'd hate to see getting on a Shinkansen becoming a major ordeal.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Agree that more compassion all the way around would help. Yes, compassion to the mentally ill guy but far moreso to the victims, one whom he killed and others injured. And now to all of us who will be thinking twice about any odd behavior on trains whenever we get on them. One thing though, especially as more tourists come here: announcements should be in at least a couple more languages, and they should probably consider actually saying something. Even if these announcements were in English, it would probably just get non-Japanese upset....especially with more news coming from outside the train. Imagine that!

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I also happen to know that there is an inexpensive digital signage gizmo (from a Canadian inventor so is multilingual and "versatile") that could be "near seat" - but what has the response to this been amongst the Japanese rail/transit operators? Slower than molasses on a cold Canadian winter morning... Japan needs to "get on with it" I say!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

unfortunately this POS, and yes he was certainly mentally ill otherwise he wouldn't have committed such a stupid act, has created a precedent for other mentally ill idiots to follow and as such a taskforce-type response is necessary in order to avoid any recurrence.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

What's with all the thumbs down on these posts? Most of them are perfectly reasonable such as "Tessa, what would you like to know?"

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It's easy to say this guy was mentally ill, but he may have been making a statement of some sort that we just haven't heard. Self Immolation is often/usually to make some statement. I wouldn't be surprised if the media just wasn't reporting it (or maybe didn't receive it from investigators).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think rail operators in Japan need to be given many thumbs down. BTW indeed the thumbs up/down system on this site is inane - I ignore it... this ain't the Roman Colosseum and we ain't gladiators! I'd rather they used broken pieces of pottery a la Athens: whoever ends up with the largest amount suffers Themistocles' fate. But to get things "back on track," we need a tracking system at train stations for obviously deranged people and a system to provide warning to foreign tourists who cannot handle the Japanese language, but the rail/transit operators are probably putting profits before people...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Yes, it could be he was a disgruntled former JR employee or something.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The passengers should have stopped him before he set himself on fire.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Easy to say from behind a keyboard in the safety of your house natsu823. Would you have risked being burned alive with him by jumping in Bruce Willis style? I bet you wouldn't, the safest thing to do if you knew what he was about to do would be to get away from him as quickly as possible.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

look at all these children debating like horny chickens. -4 Good Bad Gerard van SchipJUN. 30, 2015 - 09:09PM JST "the businessman quickly left as he smelled gasoline" I see a problem right there. If some dude was pouring gasoline on a train I was on I would hit the emergency button and try to grab the guy.

Then where were you jesus? Dont say this shit. Nothing you could have done son.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Bizarre and terrifying. This happened in Japan? Really?

The passengers should have stopped him before he set himself on fire.

The passengers probably had no idea what the hell was going on.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes Japan is not the safe haven you thought, folks!!! Shock horror is a country full of people just like everywhere else.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japan woke up for a moment.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Tessa:

Which second language should there be? Korean? Chinese? Swahili? English? Tourists should have basic knowledge of japanese when visiting. Maybe a picture with the text...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

A 71-year-old resident of Tokyo. How did this ever end up in his mind as something to do? The horror.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

According to passengers interviewed on the news last night, his behavior was aberrant from the start. He was at first sitting on the floor in the middle of the aisle, then he walked up and down the aisle offering people cigarettes, thousand yen notes, then all of a sudden he poured the kerosene on himself and lit himself on fire.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Canadian invention I mentioned can go in addition to text in Japanese, Chinese, English and a fourth (switchable) offers visuals...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's this song that goes- "don't go to heaven alone; take somebody with you". Unfortunately, this man likely went to hell and thought it was a good idea to bring somebody with him. Sad ending - but makes for a good headliner. They should add this to the book on 1001 ways to kill yourself while getting maximum attention.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Exactly one year to the day, that an anti-Abe protestor set fire to himself, just outside of JR Shinjuku station. Why is the media not joining the dots, why does anyone who mentions this get deleted here ?

<>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2Cqn9MaS-I<>

Moderator: Because it is not relevant, unless you have some insight into the man's mind.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Um. Sounds like everything hit the fan as some passengers got dragged into a mess. I hear the man who set himself on fire was unhappy with his amount of pension received. Even so, it's not a good idea to harm other people. Let alone killing other person.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No. Joke. I. Was. There. Don't believe me if you want.

I was two cars back and all of the sudden you heard screams, chilling screams. It was crazy. No women and children first, just mass panic to run to the cars farther back.

It was surreal. I met my father and sister who came to visit me here and on the train from Narita, I don't remember how it came up but I mentioned when there's a train delay in Japan that there's a fair chance it's because of a suicide. They couldn't believe it.

Well then not just a few hours later, taking the Shinkansen from Tokyo with plans going to Hiroshima, our conversation is ended when the screams and shouting starting. I didn't see the smoke until we could finally get off.

And the panic didn't end once we were off. Getting on another Shinkansen was crazy. An absolute nightmare. Everyone was angry and fighting to get on the next train or any train. Everyone was screaming why they should get on, for business, for family, their children are scared. The JR staff was freaking out because they had no clue what to do about schedules, about those with reserved tickets for any train, how'd they get everyone a seat, they said the next train comes when the next train comes.

An absolutely freaking chaotic scene. Finally we got on a train and that was my father and sisters intro to Japan. Oh, and for good measure I forgot my cell on my train.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The police are treating this as a crime, so maybe it should get moved to the crime section?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It would be interesting to know why people (whether passengers or pilots!) find it necessary to commit suicide in such a way that it endangers the lives of innocent people. Clearly a major and urgent area for psychological and psychiatric research, which needs to be made public when complete, and preventive action and legislation organised based on the findings.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NOT OFF TOPIC . This event happened on June 29th, exactly a year after a protestor set fire to himself near JR Shinjuku station. The media is bought out by corporate sponsors, the kind of people who back Mr Abe's government.

His recent 'request' to the heads of media, to report favourably, has been put into practice ..... no one dare join the dots.

Anyone who even suggests a link, has their post deleted. This is just a reflection of how this country is run.

Wake up people !

Moderator: Wake up yourself. There are no corporate sponsors. This post is off topic. The rules of the discussion board state quite clearly that the moderator's decision is final. If you post this again, you will be suspended from the discussion board.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's insane harvey. Guess your sis & pop got quite a story to tell when they return home.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I liked the comment

...self-immolation is relatively popular in asia.

Not in my neighborhood.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They police were very careful not to say what kind of 'abura' it was. One passenger noted it was pink in colo(u)r; this was the first indication that it was gasoline, which contains a pink dye in Japan, and not paraffin/kerosene. Today's NHK radio news used the word 'Abura' and the the word 'Gasorin' interchangeably, so it sounds as if the police have finally analyzed it to their satisfaction.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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