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A man dressed in a ‘Batman’ Joker costume and brandishing a knife on a Tokyo commuter train stabbed several passengers before starting a fire, which caused people to rush to escape and jump out of windows, they said. police and witnesses.

The Tokyo Fire Department said 17 passengers were injured on Sunday, including three seriously. Not all were stabbed and most of the injuries were not serious, the agency said.

The attacker, only identified as a man in his 20s, was arrested at the scene and was being investigated on suspicion of attempted murder, NHK said. His motive was not immediately known.

Passengers were stabbed on a commuter train in Tokyo by a man who also started a fire inside a carriage. (Supplied)

Nippon Television reported that the suspect told police he used a previous train stabbing case as an example.

Witnesses told police the shooter was wearing a bright outfit, a green shirt, a blue suit and a purple coat, like the Joker in the ‘Batman’ comics or someone who was going to a Halloween event, according to reports from the media.

Tokyo police officials said the attack occurred inside the Keio train near Kokuryo station.

Emergency workers and police investigate the scene at a train station in Tokyo on Sunday. (NTV via AP) (AP)

Television images showed several firefighters, police and paramedics rescuing the passengers, many of whom escaped through the train’s windows.

In one video, passengers ran from another car, where flames erupted.

NHK said the suspect, after stabbing passengers, spilled an oil-like liquid and set fire, partially burning the seats.

Shunsuke Kimura, who filmed the video, told NHK that he saw passengers desperately running and while trying to find out what happened, he heard an explosive noise and saw floating smoke.

He also jumped from a window but fell onto the platform and injured his shoulder.

Emergency workers are at the scene of the stabbing in the subway in Tokyo. (AP)

“The train doors were closed and we had no idea what was going on, and we jumped out the windows,” Kimura said.

The attack was the second involving a knife on a Tokyo train in two months.

Tokyo residents dressed up to celebrate Halloween. (AP)

While shooting deaths are rare in Japan, the country has had a string of high-profile knife killings in recent years.

In 2019, a man carrying two knives attacked a group of schoolgirls waiting at a bus stop on the outskirts of Tokyo, killing two people and wounding 17 before committing suicide.

In 2018, a man killed a passenger and wounded two others in a knife attack on a bullet train.

In 2016, a former employee of a home for the disabled killed 19 people and injured more than 20.

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