S. Korean arrested in Japan after war shrine blast

Firemen at the Yasukuni Shrine after a blast on its premises in Tokyo, Japan, on Nov 23. The explosion happened in a men's washroom. No one was hurt.
Firemen at the Yasukuni Shrine after a blast on its premises in Tokyo, Japan, on Nov 23. The explosion happened in a men's washroom. No one was hurt.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO • Japanese police said they have arrested a South Korean man, two weeks after a small explosion struck the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in Tokyo.

The man returned to Tokyo from South Korea yesterday and was arrested by Tokyo Metropolitan Police, Japanese media reports said.

Police said only that they arrested Jeon Chang Han, 27, on the charge of illegal entry into the shrine, but declined to comment whether the case was linked to the explosion. "The suspect entered the inner premises of Yasukuni Shrine with no justifiable reason" some time between Nov 22 and 23, a police spokesman said.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was monitoring the situation.

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, and is a flashpoint for clashing nationalist sentiments in North-east Asia.

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

Police approached Jeon as he arrived at Tokyo's Haneda airport before arresting him on a charge of illegal entry, the reports said. Jeon denies the allegation.

No one was hurt in the Nov 23 incident but a bang was heard and smoke was seen rising from a public bathroom on the shrine's leafy grounds.

Police found batteries, wire and pipes packed with what appeared to be gunpowder, media said. They later said the suspect was believed to have travelled to South Korea.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2015, with the headline 'S. Korean arrested in Japan after war shrine blast'. Print Edition | Subscribe