Massive police manhunt on for Japan gunman who killed 1, wounded 3 at office in rare incident of gun violence

Forensic investigators examining the scene of a shooting in Wakayama city, Japan, on Aug 29, 2016.
Forensic investigators examining the scene of a shooting in Wakayama city, Japan, on Aug 29, 2016.PHOTO: YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

TOKYO (AFP) - A gunman who shot dead a construction worker and wounded three others at their office in Japan was on the run on Monday (Aug 29), in a country where firearms violence is extremely rare.

The Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported the suspect was the son of the construction firm owner, and was still armed when he fled in the western city of Wakayama.

The attack took place inside a company office during a meeting, the paper reported. All four victims were taken to hospital, where 45-year-old Mr Junsuke Ishiyama died from a bullet wound to the stomach.

"We're still investigating" where he is, a police spokesman said, without giving further details. Local media said police had not yet found a motive for the shooting.

Local officials warned residents to stay indoors as a massive police manhunt got under way across the city.

Gun violence is exceedingly unusual in Japan, with very strict controls on firearms ownership.

In 2015, there were just eight reported gun crimes nationwide, the National Police Agency said, with one person killed and three wounded.

The few weapons in circulation are often linked to organised crime.