In Tokyo, a man set himself on fire at Tokyo’s Shinjuku railway station apparently protesting recent government actions. The man who witnesses say was in his 50’s or 60’s was taken to the hospital after suffering critical injuries, office Daiji Kubota said at the Shinjuku police station. Office Kubota said that the reason for the man setting himself on fire is still under investigation.
Video of the incident surfaced on Twitter and other social media websites show a man wearing a suit and tie sitting on a mat atop the metal frame holding up a pedestrian walkway with two plastic bottle which is assumed held gasoline beside him.
According to New York Daily News, witnesses describe the situation saying that the man spoke through a megaphone protesting Japan’s government’s moves to change their defense policy, covered himself with the gasoline and lit a match as hundreds of people watched from below and neighboring buildings.
Japan’s Cabinet is contemplating approving a proposal which would allow the right to “collective self-defense,” which would allow Japan to exert strength in international security due to China’s growing military presence and rapidly rising regional tensions. The measure is expected to be approved on Tuesday.
Japan and China have been locked in a battle over land ownership between the two countries for a number of years. Much of the battle have been within each own’s country and each government looking for approval from its people to take actions further. This man set himself on fire because of Japan’s evident willingness to move forward in enacting laws allowing its military to protect itself against a potential attack.
While nobody has spoken to the man who set himself on fire in protest, one could deduce that the concern is over this disputed land. Either country could interpret occupation of this land by the opposite country as an invasion.
Japan Times reports that witnesses who were observing the man prior to setting himself on fire thought that he may have been drunk and the bottles that he was carrying contained alcohol. The paper quotes a witness, Yuto Ishida, a 19-year-old college student, saying, “Everybody who happened to be there stopped to watch what was happening. The moment the man set himself on fire, the audience burst into screams, and we were all left in total shock.”
No reports of potential charges against the man who set himself on fire have been reported.