Fri, Jan 22, 2016 - Page 6 News List

South Korean re-arrested after blast at shrine in Tokyo

AFP, TOKYO

A South Korean man suspected of being behind an explosion at a controversial Tokyo war shrine was re-arrested yesterday, accused of carrying and using gunpowder.

Tokyo police said Jeon Chang-han, 27, now faces a new charge of breaching Japan’s explosives control law after he was held for trespassing on the shrine last month.

“He allegedly filled a metal pipe with black gunpowder and carried it to a toilet inside Yasukuni Shrine,” a police spokesman told reporters. “He also allegedly blew up the pipe filled with gunpowder in the toilet.”

Prosecutors had Jeon arrested last month on the charge of illegal entry into the shrine after a suspected explosion damaged a bathroom there on Nov. 23 last year. No one was hurt, but the incident stretched already frayed nerves in the Japanese capital just days after terror attacks killed 130 people in Paris.

The Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo honoring millions of Japan’s war dead, including several senior military and political figures convicted of war crimes after World War II, remains a diplomatic flashpoint in Northeast Asia.

Those honored at the shrine include 30,304 Taiwanese soldiers killed in World War II.

Visits 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.

Jeon is believed to have initially left Japan after the blast, but was taken into custody when he re-entered the country early last month, reportedly carrying 2kg of gunpowder.

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