Two Japanese soldiers have been killed and another injured after a new recruit opened fire at a military training range in central Japan.

According to police, an 18-year-old trainee was detained on the spot and arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

They alleged the male shooter fired eight times at instructors during a shooting drill in Gifu on Wednesday.

The authorities said A 25-year-old man was among those killed, as details about the other victims, in their 20s and 50s, are not yet known. But they were all instructors at the facility.

No civilians were involved, Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Force said.

They said the shooting had occurred during a live-fire training for new members and potential candidates. The suspect had joined the force in April.

Several soldiers were seen hugging each other and crying outside the range after the shooting, a resident told local media.

The resident added that he had never seen a similar incident in his decades of living in the area.

Live-fire and explosive training drills were suspended across the country after attack, said the chief of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces.

Gun violence remains extremely rare in Japan, but there have been some notable incidents in the past year.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was gunned down at a political rally by a protester last July. Abe was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and his death profoundly shocked the country.

Japan was again rattled in April when Prime Minister Fumio Kishida escaped unharmed after having a smoke bomb thrown at his campaign event.

And in May, a Japanese man killed four people, including two police officers, in an hours-long knife and shooting rampage in the Nagano region.

On Wednesday, pictures on Japanese media showed police and emergency vehicles blocking off roads around the training facility in Gifu city.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu said he was aware of the shooting, and said the incident was still under investigation.

Japan has strict gun ownership rules, and only allows civilians to own hunting rifles and airguns. People have to undergo a strict exam and mental health tests in order to buy a gun in Japan.

BBC/Taiwo Akinola

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