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When a 69-year-old man was arrested Nov. 8 on suspicion of attempted arson aboard a shinkansen train in Kumamoto Prefecture, he revealed to police an intention to “imitate” another incident eight days earlier, when a man stabbed a passenger on a Keio Line train in Tokyo, before torching multiple carriages with a flammable liquid.

While such crimes are rare in Japan, their frequency has been increasing in recent years, and the copycat nature of this most recent attack has led to calls for further safety measures on trains and other public transportation.

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