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TOKYO: Japanese police rescued four hostages from a bank yesterday and arrested the knife-wielding man who had held them captive for more than 12 hours while demanding the prime minister resign, officials said.
In a televised news conference, a police spokesman said the hostage-taker, identified as Koji Nagakubo, was arrested on suspicion of taking a total of five people captive, including one person whom he had released earlier.
All the hostages were safe and in protective custody following the pre-dawn police raid, the spokesman said, though local media reported one of them -- a 19-year-old female bank employee -- was slightly injured.
The 32-year-old man began the siege Thursday afternoon at the Zoshi branch of the Toyokawa Shinkin Bank in the otherwise quiet residential area of Toyokawa city in central Aichi prefecture.
Wielding a survival knife, he took four employees and a female customer captive and demanded the cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda step down, local media said. Noda last week called an election for December 16, which he is expected to lose.
In initial questioning by police, the suspect admitted the allegations but had yet to give details about his motive, NHK reported.
About 13 hours after, police wearing protective gear and carrying shields rushed the office before dawn, overpowered the man and escorted out the remaining four hostages.AFP