Japan prosecutors charge South Korean man over blast at Yasukuni Shrine: Media

South Korean Jeon Changhan was detained by police in connection with a recent suspected bombing at Yasukuni Shrine.
South Korean Jeon Changhan was detained by police in connection with a recent suspected bombing at Yasukuni Shrine.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese prosecutors on Monday (Dec 28) charged a South Korean two weeks after he was arrested for alleged illegal entry into the controversial Yasukuni war shrine before it was hit by a small explosion, local media reported.

Jeon Chang Han, 27, was indicted for allegedly trespassing on the grounds of the Tokyo shrine in November, according to Jiji Press and other major media.

A suspected explosive device damaged a bathroom at the shrine on Nov 23.

No one was hurt, but the incident frayed nerves as the Japanese authorities were strengthening security in the capital after the Paris attacks that killed 130.

Earlier media reports said police view Jeon as the prime suspect in the explosion.

He is believed to have initially left Japan but was arrested when he re-entered early this month, reportedly carrying 2kg of gunpowder.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor's Office declined to confirm the indictment, which was also reported by other media.

Kyodo News agency, citing investigative sources, reported that the police could rearrest Jeon next month on suspicion of violating Japan's explosives control law.

The shrine in central Tokyo honours millions of Japan's war dead, including several senior military and political figures convicted of war crimes after World War II. It is a flashpoint for clashing nationalist sentiments in North-east Asia.

Visits to the shrine by senior Japanese politicians routinely draw an angry reaction from China and South Korea, which see it as a symbol of Tokyo's militaristic past.

The shrine has been a target of occasional attacks by activists.

A South Korean national was charged two years ago with attempting to set fire to the building, while a man was also arrested in December 2014 for suspected arson there, according to the media.