3 people, including a 12-year-old girl have been killed and at  least 18 people were injured on a residential street in Kawasaki after an attack by a knife-wielding man.

The suspect, a man in his 50s, reportedly stabbed himself in the neck and was later detained.

He has also died from his injuries. The motive for the attack is unknown.

Sixteen of those injured are said to be schoolgirls.

Police responding to the incident recovered two knives at the scene.

The school bus driver said that he had seen the suspect approach a queue of students who were reportedly waiting to board their bus to the nearby Caritas private school in a residential area in Kawasaki.

The suspect began stabbing the children and then boarded the bus and stabbed children inside as well.

A male eyewitness said “I saw a man lying near a bus stop bleeding.”

“I also saw elementary schoolchildren lying on the ground. It’s a quiet neighborhood, it’s scary to see this kind of thing happen,” he added.

The deceased man sustained four neck wounds, reports say.

Footage broadcast on local news stations showed emergency services arriving at the scene – near the Noborito First Park and setting up medical tents to treat the wounded.

Japan has one of the world’s lowest rates of violent crime but in recent years has experienced a handful of attacks involving knives.

Eight students were killed in a 2001 attack after a man entered an elementary school in Osaka and began stabbing students.