A shocking knife rampage – allegedly carried about by a man dressed as the Joker – has left at least 17 people injured in Tokyo.

A man dressed as the Joker is suspected of being responsible for a stabbing rampage on a Tokyo train.

The man allegedly stabbed at least 17 people and started a fire in a carriage.

Footage shows him sitting and smoking a cigarette before he was taken into custody by police.

Eyewitnesses told national broadcaster NHK of their fear during the attack that took place on Halloween when the Japanese capital was full of revellers, many in costume.

The alleged attacker is believed to have sprayed hydrochloric acid inside the first and second cars of the train before setting them on fire.

People scrambled to escape through the train’s windows as the horror unfolded around 8pm local time, police and witnesses said.

“I thought it was a Halloween event,” one witness told reporters. “Then I saw a man walking this way, slowly waving a long knife.”

A video posted on social media showed more than a dozen people fleeing a burning carriage and huddling at the end of the next train car. Footage posted on social media appears to show the alleged attacker dressed like the Joker in the Batman films.

Police were seen entering the carriage where the suspect was seated.

The man reportedly didn’t resist as he was arrested and taken into custody.

Horrifying attack

Shunsuke Kimura, who filmed a video of the incident, told Japan’s public broadcaster NHK he saw passengers fleeing before hearing an explosion.

He jumped from a window in a desperate bid to escape, but fell on the platform and hurt his shoulder.

He said: “Train doors were closed and we had no idea what was happening, and we jumped from the windows. It was horrifying.”

The line operator said services had been partially suspended after “an incident involving injuries” took place just before 8pm near Kokuryo in the Japanese capital’s western suburbs.

“First I thought it was something like a Halloween event. But I rushed away as a man carrying a long knife came in. I was very fortunate not to be injured,” a man who was on the train told NHK.

The attacker carried out the act without showing any emotion, a female passenger said.

“He held a knife and started spreading liquid,” she said. “He was committing this act without showing any emotion, just mechanically. I think that brought fear to everyone.”

Kyodo News said 15 people had been injured in the attack, with NHK reported 17 were hurt with a man in his 60s stabbed and in serious condition.

Dozens of firefighters and police officers were seen working outside the station.

Violent crime is rare in Japan, but in August nine people were wounded, one of them seriously, in a stabbing attack on a commuter train in Tokyo, with the suspect later handing himself in after fleeing the scene.

In a separate attack in August, two people suffered burns in an acid attack at a Tokyo subway station.

Japan has strict gun laws, but there are occasional violent crimes involving other weapons.

In 2019, a man killed two people including a schoolgirl and wounded more than a dozen in a rampage that targeted children as they waited for a bus.

And in 2018, a man was arrested in central Japan after stabbing one person to death and injuring two others aboard a bullet train.

– with AFP