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Japan's top police official, who is leading the investigation into a deadly nerve gas attack on Tokyo's subways, was shot and wounded by a masked man on a bicycle as he left for work this morning.

Takaji Kunimatsu, chief of the National Police Agency, was hit by four bullets and hospitalized in serious condition, said Tadatoshi Honda, spokesman for the police precinct where the shooting took place. He said Kunimatsu's life wasn't believed to be in danger.

It wasn't clear whether the shooting was related to the investigation into the deadly nerve gas attack on Tokyo's subways that killed 10 people and sickened 5,000 others last week.

No one has claimed responsibility for the subway killings, but they are believed to have been directed at police because all of the trains that were gassed were to have stopped at the station near the National Police Agency.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for shooting the 57-year-old Kunimatsu.

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