• Kyodo

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A knife-wielding man broke into the house of his wife’s family and took two in-laws hostage late Saturday night.

He later freed one, but was still holding his 9-year-old niece as police continued to try to talk him out on Sunday.

Armed with a kitchen knife, 38-year-old Tadashi Kawamura took his 68-year-old mother-in-law and his niece hostage at the house of Yasuhiko Nakata, his estranged wife’s younger brother, police said. The incident occurred in the town of Nijo, Fukuoka Prefecture, at a little after 8 p.m. Saturday.

Kawamura, who is from the town of Kawara in the prefecture, was apparently looking for his wife, 41. The two are currently in the middle of divorce proceedings.

At about 12:40 p.m. Sunday, Kawamura released his mother-in-law, Hatsue Nakata. She was unhurt in the ordeal, investigators said.

Police were still working to secure the safe release of the girl, Shiho Nakata. They plan to arrest the man on charges of hostage-taking and violating laws controlling the possession of swords and firearms.

Yasuhiko Nakata called police about 10 minutes after Kawamura took the two hostage on the home’s second floor.

Kawamura was demanding to see his wife and child, but the Nakatas apparently know nothing of their whereabouts, according to police.

Police suspect that the man may have been under the influence of drugs as he appeared extremely excited at one point. Talking with him via his mobile phone, police were cautiously trying to persuade him to surrender.

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