Man, 86, arrested after two women held hostage in Japan post office -media

TOKYO (Reuters) -An 86-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of taking two women hostage at a post office near Tokyo on Tuesday, media reported.

Earlier, authorities said a man who appeared to be armed had taken the women in the city of Warabi, north of the capital, during the afternoon.

Police stormed the building after one of the hostages was released and the other fled, broadcaster NHK said. Both women were unhurt, it added.

Images broadcast on television showed a man wearing a track suit top and white shirt standing just inside the post office brandishing what looked like a pistol.

Police were looking into whether the incident was linked to a shooting that left two people wounded at a hospital in the neighbouring city of Toda earlier on Tuesday, NHK said.

Violent crime, especially incidents involving guns, is rare in Japan.

There were just nine shooting incidents last year, including the killing of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by a man with a homemade gun at a campaign rally in July.

(Reporting by Sugiyama Satoshi, Sakura Murakami, Tim Kelly and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Writing by John Geddie; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Ed Osmond and Andrew Heavens)