(TOKYO) — Two people in central Japan are dead after a military recruit allegedly opened fire on his colleagues.
The incident occurred Wednesday at a Ground Self Defense Force-run indoor shooting range during routine, live-fire drills.
The Ground Self-Defense Force at Moriyama Garrison told ABC News that the live-fire pistol and rifle training held at the indoor range were routine and not out of the ordinary. They confirmed the suspect in custody was a candidate participating in the live-fire drill early Wednesday morning local Japan time.
Military authorities at the garrison have confirmed that the men killed were aged 25 and 52, both serving members. Additionally, another victim, a 25-year-old belonging to the same garrison, is currently in serious condition.
The 18-year-old new recruit has admitted to the shooting, police in Gifu, the central Japanese city where the shooting took place, told ABC News.
“Whether or not there was intent or motive is still being investigated. But there was admission of shooting,” they said.
Self-Defense Force candidates are required to take a three-month education and training course before being admitted. The suspect joined the force in April, officials said.
Gen. Yasunori Morishita, the chief of staff of Japan’s Ground Self Defense Force, issued an apology during a press conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo.
“This kind of incident should never have happened at an organization that handles weapons,” Morishita said.
Morishita added that the ministry will establish a panel to investigate the incident and prevent similar occurrences in the future.
Live-fire drills nationwide were suspended as a precautionary measure following the attack.
Confessions from suspects in Japan are not uncommon. The rarity of gun violence, however, cannot be overstated owing to the strict control and limited access to firearms for the general populace.
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