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Shinto shrine head, 2 others killed in Tokyo sword attack

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Police officers walk near the scene of a stabbing incident at Tomioka Hachimangu shrine in Tokyo Friday Dec. 8 2017

The head priest of a prominent shrine in Tokyo was ambushed and killed with a samurai sword, apparently by her brother, who then took his own life, police said Friday.

The Japan Times reports that police suspect that Shigenaga Tomioka killed his sister, stabbing her in the chest and stomach with a knife as his companion chased down the driver with a tradition Japanese sword, slashing him in the arm and chest.

Nagako Tomioka's driver, 33, was also seriously injured in the attack.

Shigenaga and the other woman, who was his girlfriend and believed to be in her 30s, apparently ambushed Nagako after she got out of a auto on the grounds of the shrine in Tokyo's eastern ward of Koto.

Police declined to comment on the motive for the killings, but domestic media said the incident appeared to stem from a family feud.

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The four were sent to a hospital, where the three were confirmed dead. His injuries were nonetheless non-life threatening, the newspaper said.

Tomioka then fatally stabbed his girlfriend and committed suicide with the weapon used in the attack, according to the police, who reached the scene of the crime after receiving calls from residents. After he left the post of chief priest in 2001, he sent a threatening postcard to his sister in January 2006 in which he wrote, among other things, that he would send her to hell.

The shrine, established in 1627, is known for its annual Fukagawa Hachiman festival, one of Tokyo's three major festivals from the Edo period. The almost 400-year-old shrine is known for its close ties to sumo and holding one of Tokyo's three big Shinto festivals.

Nagako Tomioka, chief priestess of Tomioka Hachimangū, was brutally murdered by her younger brother Shigenaga.

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