“We have been informed that there was a passenger in a car on the train who covered him or herself with oil and set it on fire,” said a JR Central spokesman.
The train — a super-fast Nozomi bullet train — was travelling from Tokyo towards Osaka when the fire broke out near Odawara, southwest of Tokyo.
“We received information indicating that a fire broke out near a toilet and two people were in cardiopulmonary arrest,” a spokesman for Odawara Fire Department said.
“Other passengers were also injured,” he said, without specifying the number.
NHK reported the two people were found on the floor of the first car, but at opposite ends of the carriage.
The fire erupted at around 11:30 am (0230 GMT) when the train was about 70 kilometres (45 miles) from the capital.
Aerial television footage showed white smoke coming from the train, as it sat stationary on a stretch of track surrounded by firefighters.
Broadcasters said passengers were evacuated through the fourth car.
Japan’s ultra-efficient shinkansen train network connects cities along the length and breadth of the country.
Despite the huge volume of passengers it serves, the network operates with an enviable punctuality rate. It also has an unparalleled safety record, with no one ever having been killed in a crash in its half century of service. – AFP