Man sets himself on fire in Tokyo to protest the "culture of war"
Tokyo (AsiaNews) - A Japanese man died after setting himself on fire in a Tokyo park in what appears to be protest against a change in the country's military policy following a decision by the Japanese government to allow Japan to play a military role in world affairs. Little more is known about the incident and a source told AsiaNews that everyone should be cautious about drawing any conclusions about the case.
Police said they received an emergency call at around 7 pm last night about a fire in Tokyo's Hibiya Park. Upon arriving at the scene, they found a man on fire lying on large area of burnt grass. He died after he was taken to hospital.
Local media quoted investigators as saying they considered the case to be suicide and reported that the man left behind a protest note and a video camera. Police declined to confirm such details.
The note was reportedly addressed to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and top lawmakers. In it, the dead man protested against the country's pre War World Two militarist past, during which it seized Korea and invaded China.
Some reports suggest that the victim was related to war criminals sentenced to death. The video supposedly shows his home and scrapbook, with explanation for Japan's shameful acts of the past.
The decision by the Japanese government to approve a controversial reinterpretation of the constitution appears to have triggered the act.
Prime Minister Abe was able to get his cabinet to approve changes to Japan's decades-old pacifist constitution, namely Article 9, which restricted the country to having only self-defence forces. The decision to change it has been contentious and has raised anger across the country.
Speaking to AsiaNews, a local source said, "The incident remains unclear. Until we know his name, it would be better not to draw any conclusions about it."
"Proposed changes to the constitution have upset a lot of people," the source added. "The Catholic Church remains firmly opposed to the change. However, the suicide could be the work of a mentally deranged person manipulated by partisan media."