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Last Updated: Friday, 18 May 2007, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Woman escapes 24-hour Japan siege
Police outside the siege in Nagakute, Nagoya - 18 May 2007
The gunman surrendered after the woman's escape
A woman has escaped after a 24-hour siege in Japan during which her ex-husband allegedly killed a policeman and wounded his two children.

Another police officer was injured in the stand-off that saw 170 riot police surround a house and evacuate nearby streets in a suburb of Nagoya city.

The gunman, who later surrendered, is said to be a former member of a major Japanese criminal gang, Yamaguchi-gumi.

Japan has been rocked by a spate of recent gun crimes.

A member of Yamaguchi-gumi was arrested last month after the mayor of Nagasaki was shot dead.

The shooting triggered calls for even stricter controls on arms, in a country with a famously low crime rate and an already strict policy on handguns.

Crackdown pledge

The drama in the Nagakute suburb of Nagoya unfolded on Thursday when 50-year-old Hisato Obayashi opened fire on his son and daughter, both in their 20s, local media said.

The two children were taken to hospital but were not thought to have life-threatening injuries.

Map

A policeman responding to a call from an unidentified woman at the scene was then shot, and left to lie injured for hours in front of the house.

As his colleagues attempted to rescue him, a second officer was shot and died from his wounds, officials said.

The woman hostage - named as Michiko Mori - managed to flee the house on Friday, according to reports.

TV footage showed her, with some bruises to her face but without serious injury, being carried away by police officers.

Hours later, the gunman was shown emerging from the house with his hands in the air.

Waiting police officers surrounded him before taking him into custody.

As the incident unfolded, Kensei Mizote, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, pledged to take action over gun crime.

Illegal arms are believed to be shipped in by Japan's criminal gangs in Japan.

"We will strengthen ways, through reworking regulations and introducing effective measures, to crack down on weapons possessed by underground crime syndicates," Mr Mizote said.


SEE ALSO
Japan PM denounces mayor's death
18 Apr 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Tokyo death sparks gang war fear
08 Feb 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Japanese yakuza boss goes to jail
05 Dec 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan's mafia members seek 'respect'
17 May 04 |  Asia-Pacific



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