Three dead in Tokyo shrine stabbings

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An apparent murder-suicide involving a samurai sword at a Tokyo religious shrine has left the head priestess dead, along with her assailant brother and his girlfriend.

One man and one woman were killed and two others injured on Thursday night in a knife attack in Tokyo, local police said.

The attacker was the chief priest of the shrine more than a decade ago, but was demoted from the post and succeeded by his sister.

Police said that Nagako Tomioka, the 58-year-old head of Tomioka Hachimangu shrine, was attacked as she got out of her auto Thursday night.

Her driver reportedly has also been wounded.

Nagako Tomioka, 58, chief priestess of Tomioka Hachimangū in Tokyo, was attacked by Shigenaga Tomioka, 56, as she got out of a vehicle on Thursday evening.

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Shigenaga's partner, meanwhile, chased down his sister's driver, who had tried to escape on foot, and attacked him about 100 meters away. The injuries to his shoulder and chest were not life-threatening.

The brother is then believed to have killed the woman before committing suicide.

The almost 400-year-old Tomioka Hachimangu shrine is known for its close ties to sumo and holding one of Tokyo's three big Shinto festivals.

The Kyodo news agency reports that a single samurai sword was found at the scene, but the newspaper says two were found.

At the time, his sister had held a post known as negi, the second-highest rank at a Shinto shrine after the chief priest.

Shigenaga Tomioka, 56, is suspected of having attacked his 58-year-old sister Nagako Tomioka, the chief priest of the Tomioka Hachimangu shrine, the Metropolitan Police Department said. The shrine left the association on September 28 this year.