(Update 2: adds details)
Tokyo, Jun 14 (EFE).- At least two Japanese soldiers were killed on Wednesday when a young recruit opened fire at an army training camp in Gifu, in the latest violent incident to rock the country.
The incident took place at the Hino firing range in the central Gifu prefecture, which belongs to the 10th division of the ground forces, at around 9 am on Wednesday.
Authorities were still investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Japanese spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno confirmed the shooting and said that the suspect had been arrested.
The detainee is said to be an 18-year-old recruit, who has been arrested for attempted murder, according to local media outlets.
“The shooter is already under arrest but no further details can be given because it is a case under investigation,” Matsuno said.
The three wounded were on the firing range with the gunman at the time of the incident.
Two of them died after being hospitalized in critical condition and a third is also hospitalized with serious injuries.
The fatalities are a 25-year-old and a 52-year-old soldier from the Moriyama barracks and the wounded is a 25-year-old male from the same garrison.
The alleged shooter had begun his training at Moriyama in April and the trio who were shot were his instructors, General Yasunori Morishita, chief of staff of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces and director of the corps’ personnel, told a press conference.
Sources in the ongoing police investigation told public broadcaster NHK that the young man allegedly confessed to intentionally shooting to kill the older instructor.
Authorities are investigating the motives behind the incident.
The cadet was immediately apprehended by soldiers who were near the scene and was later handed over to the Gifu police, Morishita said.
A separate military investigation will be opened to clarify the causes of the incident and an investigation committee will be set up to determine whether the target practice was being conducted properly and to prevent recurrences, Morishita said.
The military chief of staff has ordered a temporary halt to all shooting practice nationwide as well as a review into security measures in place at the relevant compounds.
Local media showed images of various fire, ambulance and police vehicles thronging to the military installations where the event took place.
The shooting comes three weeks after a man armed with a hunting rifle and a sharp blade killed four people – including two police officers – before barricading himself at his home.
This was the first violent incident since 1990 to have caused the deaths of more than two officers in a country where homicide and gun violence rates are among the lowest in the world.
Japan enforces strict laws on gun ownership, which is banned except in special cases such as for members of the security forces or for hunting.