Tags: tokyo | man | fire | protest

Tokyo Man on Fire in Protest Over Changing Japan Defense Policy

By    |   Monday, 30 Jun 2014 09:51 AM

A Tokyo man who witnesses said was protesting a possible change in Japan's defense policy doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire at the busy Shinjuku railway station on Sunday.

The unidentified man talked on a megaphone about Japan's defense before setting himself ablaze in front of hundreds of people at the railway station. Shinjuku police station officer Daiji Kubota told The Associated Press that the man sustained serious injuries.

The AP reported that the country's cabinet was expected to approve a proposal calling for the right to "collective self-defense" on Tuesday. The move is in response to China's growing military presence in the area and rising regional tensions.

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Japan has limited its participation to noncombat roles but the proposal would allow the country to participate more in international security measure. The change would signal a major step away from post-war pacifism that has defined Japan military policy since the end of World War II, according to Reuters.

"He was sitting cross legged and was just talking, so I thought it would end without incident," Ryuichiro Nakatsu, an 18-year-old student, told Reuters. "But when I came back to the same place 30 minutes later, he was still there. Then all of a sudden his body was enveloped in fire. He was yelling against the government, about collective self-defense."

Critics around Japan have staged peaceful protest about the move to abandon Article 9 of Japan's Constitution, which legalizes the country noncombat role, according to The Associated Press. Some have held protests outside Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's residence, noted The AP.

A U.S. Department of Defense report stated that there are concerns over China's desire to expand its diplomatic influence to facilitate access to markets, capital and resources. The report stated that China's increasing influence has created friction with some of its regional neighbors, including Japan, a key Asian ally to the United States.

Reuters reported that Japan's new "self-defense" posture will likely please the U.S. which has long urged to the island country to play an more active military role.

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A Tokyo man who witnesses said was protesting a possible change in Japan's defense policy doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire at the busy Shinjuku railway station on Sunday.
tokyo, man, fire, protest
368
2014-51-30
Monday, 30 Jun 2014 09:51 AM
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