Two Dead After Man Sets Himself On Fire Aboard Japanese Bullet Train

Two Dead After Man Sets Himself On Fire Aboard Japanese Bullet Train
Tokyo – Bullet Train Roger W / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

On Tuesday, a man and a woman died after the former committed apparent self-immolation aboard a Shinkansen bullet train bound for Shin-Osaka Station on the Tokaido Shinkansen line.


According to the police, Haruo Hayashizaki, 71, set himself on fire after decanting an oil-like substance on himself at the front of Car No. 1 of Nozomi train No. 225. His body was consumed entirely in flames, which were extinguished by the driver of the train, when he was found. The woman, who suffered a cardiac arrest in front of a restroom at the back of Car No. 1, was later pronounced dead, according to The Japan News.

The incident caused serious injuries to two people and minor injuries to about 20 others, Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency reported.

After the driver heard an explosion in the restroom – which filled the entire carriage with smoke – he made an emergency stop between Shin-Yokohama and Odawara stations in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture. The emergency alarm set off at 11:30 a.m. Cars No. 1 through 3 were evacuated.

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According to, a Odawara Fire Department spokesman said, “We received information indicating that a fire broke out near a toilet and two people were in cardiopulmonary arrest.”

The trains operating between Tokyo and Nagoya were suspended. A task force had arrived at the scene.

The incident is being investigated. The circumstances surrounding the immolation have not been made clear yet.

According to The Japan Times, neighbors said that Hayashizaki resided by himself in an old apartment.

One of his neighbors who moved to the neighborhood 20 years ago said, “He seemed to stay in his apartment during the daytime. I could hear the sound of a television there. He barely interacted with his neighbors. … I have never seen him with someone else.”

Trains running along the Shinkansen network connect cities throughout Japan.

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