• Kyodo

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Two women died and five other women collapsed Saturday at a Buddhist meditation hall in Tawaramoto, Nara Prefecture, from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning.

The two dead — Shigeko Okawa, 80, and Sumie Fujii, 78 — were among six women age 75 to 87 visiting the 88-year-old female priest at the hall. They were found by a relative of one of the women who lived nearby.

All seven were taken to a hospital, but Okawa and Fujii died later Saturday, and three others were still unconscious, police said Sunday.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, a charcoal brazier was burning and another heater was turned on.

Police said the priest had recently been released from a hospital, and the six others came to visit her.

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