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Two die in human fireball on train

A man travelling on one of Japan's high-speed bullet trains set himself on fire today, killing himself and another passenger as the carriage filled with smoke.

Fire service officials said at least nine other people were injured, one seriously, mostly from smoke inhalation.

Police confirmed the death of a female passenger and said the man who started the fire is also apparently dead, but the extent of his burns is delaying formal confirmation.

National broadcaster NHK and other media outlets reported the deaths of the male and female passengers.

The passenger is believed to have poured oil over his head before setting himself on fire. Officials said the fire was at the front of the first carriage of the train.

The incident happened as the train passed near Odawara city, west of Tokyo, on its way to Osaka.

The train stopped when a passenger pressed an emergency button after finding someone collapsed on the floor near a toilet at the back of the carriage, a transport ministry official said.

Bullet train services between Tokyo and Osaka were suspended for about two-and-a-half hours while rescue workers helped some of the injured off the train. It then moved slowly to Odawara station, where about 1,000 passengers got off.

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