Japan train station locked down for over two hours over suspicious objects

Police bomb disposal personnel conducting operations, after suspicious-looking objects were found near Higashi-Hanno station in Saitama prefecture, on May 25, 2017.
Police bomb disposal personnel conducting operations, after suspicious-looking objects were found near Higashi-Hanno station in Saitama prefecture, on May 25, 2017.PHOTO: YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Police officers cordoning off the area, after a suspected bomb threat, near Higashi-Hanno station in Saitama prefecture, on May 25, 2017.
Police officers cordoning off the area, after a suspected bomb threat, near Higashi-Hanno station in Saitama prefecture, on May 25, 2017.PHOTO: YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

TOKYO - A train station in Saitama prefecture, which neighbours Tokyo to the north, was placed under lockdown for more than two hours on Thursday (May 25) over a suspected bomb threat.

About 250 people were evacuated from the Higashi-Hanno station, which was shut down at about 8.10am local time under orders from the prefectural police.

At about 7.20am, station staff called in the police after a 59-year-old commuter reported finding two suspicious-looking objects that resembled explosives in the bushes near the station, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

The report quoted police as saying the objects were metallic cylinders of about 35cm in length and 5.5cm in diameter. A third pineapple-shaped object was found in the vicinity as the police was conducting a sweep.

The Higashi-Hanno station services trains operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and Seibu Railway. The two companies also partially suspended train services along some parts of the lines, affecting about 5,000 commuters during the morning rush hour.

The lockdown was lifted at about 10.30am after police transported the objects away from the station.