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Shinkansen operator holds drill involving knife attacker

A security guard, front, with a two-pronged weapon tries to subdue a knife-wielding attacker in a drill on a bullet train conducted by Central Japan Railway Co. at a stockyard in Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Aug. 22, 2018. (Kyodo)

SHIZUOKA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Central Japan Railway Co. on Wednesday conducted its first drill involving a knife-wielding attacker on a bullet train following a deadly rampage on a shinkansen train in June.

Based on the scenario that a knife-wielding man is in a train car, members of the train crew with shields approached the perpetrator from both the front of the car and rear and security officials subdued him with a two-pronged weapon commonly used by Japanese police.

The drill was carried out at a stockyard in Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture.

JR Central began installing shields and sprays this month on bullet train cars operating on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line and is expected to complete the installation by the end of this year.

In the wake of the June attack, the operator has been beefing up security measures by bolstering patrols and introducing a new smartphone group talk system for crew members to swiftly share information.

Mamoru Tanaka, the head of JR Central's shinkansen railway business, said, "We want to make sure to place priority on passengers' safety under contingencies."

But JR Central and other shinkansen operators have shied away from introducing body or baggage inspections for shinkansen passengers for fear of sacrificing convenience.

Many bullet train services in Japan, including the Tokaido Shinkansen Line that connects Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, are competing with airline services.

In early June, a man went on a random attack with a cleaver on a crowded shinkansen bullet train bound for Shin-Osaka Station from Tokyo, killing a man and injuring two women.

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