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Man Arrested After Hijacking Bus

January 22, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ A man armed with a kitchen knife took a bus driver and two passengers hostage for almost two hours Thursday on a bus in the southwestern city of Nagasaki before surrendering to police.

The hostages, a 24-year-old man and 26-year-old woman, and driver were released unharmed. Police earlier had said there were three passengers, but later revised that to two.

The hijacker was taken into custody without a fight and was later arrested, said a spokesman for the Inasa Police Station in Nagasaki, near where the incident occurred.

He was identified as Testsuo Ota, an 46-year-old unemployed man living in Nagasaki.

Ota boarded the bus at about 5:30 p.m. and began threatening a female passenger with his weapon. He poured oil over the woman and said he would set her on fire, media reports said.

He demanded that the driver take him to a police station in the city. Police said they don’t know why he wanted to go to the station.

The driver continued on his route for about 30 minutes before pulling over to the side of the road where police surrounded the bus.

Two officers boarded the bus and talked the man into handing over his weapon shortly after 7:00 p.m.

The incident was the second hostage-taking in recent weeks in Japan.

Last week an armed rightist held a Tokyo Stock Exchange employee for six hours, then surrendered and told police he was trying to stop government measures allowing wider competition in Japan’s financial industry.

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