• Fri
  • Sep 19, 2014
  • Updated: 2:33pm

Pacifist sets himself on fire in Tokyo protest against Japan defence policy changes

Witnesses say man denounced plan to change self-defence policy before bursting into flames

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 June, 2014, 11:43pm
UPDATED : Monday, 30 June, 2014, 10:53pm

A man in Japan set himself on fire at a busy intersection in Tokyo yesterday in an apparent protest against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plans to ease limits of the country's pacifist constitution.

Japan is poised for a historic shift in its defence policy by ending a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since the second world war.

Abe's cabinet is expected to adopt as early as tomorrow a resolution revising a long-standing interpretation of the US-drafted constitution to lift the ban after his ruling party finalises an agreement with its junior partner.

It was not clear whether the man survived, although a police spokeswoman confirmed the incident, which took place near bustling Shinjuku station.

Witnesses said the man, perched on a pedestrian bridge, used a megaphone to protest against plans to end a ban on exercising "collective self- defence", or aiding a friendly country under attack.

Shots of the incident on social media showed a man clad in a suit and tie sitting on a small mat along the metal framework above a pedestrian walkway with two plastic bottles of what looked like petrol beside him.

"He was sitting cross-legged and was just talking, so I thought it would end without incident. But when I came back 30 minutes later, he was still there. Then all of a sudden his body was enveloped in fire," said Ryuichiro Nakatsu, an 18-year-old student.

"He was yelling against the government, about collective self-defence."

Witnesses said the man was hosed down and carried away. The national broadcaster NHK showed firefighters using hoses to extinguish the flames.

Conservatives say the charter's war-renouncing Article 9 has restricted Japan's ability to defend itself and that a changing regional power balance including a rising China means Japan's security policies must be more flexible.

The change will likely rile an increasingly assertive China, whose ties with Japan have chilled amid maritime disputes.


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This article is now closed to comments

People of that calibre are more useful alive than dead.
If the US wants you japan to change it, you have to.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Daniel Lee
The man in Japan setting himself on fire to protest against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plans to change Japan's pacifist constitution into a war constitution is far braver than all the Japanese fascists war-mongers combined.
Puts the 4 guys who 'heroically' jumped into Victoria Harbour (immediately followed by firefighters) to protest against OC into perspective.
They were helping in the search for the elusive and endangered Chinese white dolphin...
Are you sure it wasn't for a white elephant?
There you have it, Chinese war- and hate-mongers, a rare example of the Japanese silent majority speaking out.
Anyone who ever experienced a war will oppose it forever. Unfortunately, China seems incapable to learn from history and learn from other countries other than copying foreign products.
China will only learn, when its sons and daughters come back from the front in body-bags to Chinese cities which are lying in ruins.
See from a Chinese perspective and you will have a complete different picture.
Is that from the people's perspective or the Red government?




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