Armed police have surrounded a post office in the central Japanese city of Warabi, close to Tokyo, where a gunman is holding one person hostage.
Two people, reportedly women in their 20s and 30s, were taken captive at about 14:15 local time (05:15 GMT).
One of them, thought to be a post office employee, was later released.
The gunman’s motive is unclear. He is suspected to have also been involved in a shooting earlier on Tuesday at the nearby Toda Chuo General Hospital.
Two people, identified as a doctor and an elderly patient, were wounded in the attack at around 13:00 local time. Their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
Video has been circulating of a man carrying a gun and standing at the entrance of a post office, which is about 2.5km (1.5 miles) from the hospital.
Japanese media, citing unnamed police sources, reported that the hostage taker in the post office is also the suspect from the hospital shooting. He reportedly fled the hospital on a motorcycle.
Footage showed police and ambulances surrounding the post office in Warabi.
Later, a young woman was seen walking out of the building and being escorted away by police.
Those in the surrounding buildings of the busy residential neighbourhood have been told to stay put. Buses were sent to a school nearby to take the children back to their homes.
Shootings are rare in Japan. The country has strict gun ownership rules, and allows civilians only to own hunting rifles and airguns.
Owners must undergo a strict exam and mental health tests.
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