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Anti-nuclear activist held over arson attack on railway substation

Kyodo

Tokyo police on Tuesday arrested a 42-year-old man from the suburb of Musashino on suspicion of involvement in a string of arson attacks along railway lines in the capital.

They seized musician Izaya Noda, 42, after an individual was seen apparently trying to set an East Japan Railway Co. electricity substation on fire on Aug. 23. It was one of several such incidents during August and September, some of which disrupted train services and caused damage.

The Metropolitan Police Department said Noda admitted causing the Aug. 23 fire but denied obstructing business.

Investigators quoted him as saying he “could not stand the company consuming large amount of electricity.” This, they said, hints at his possible involvement in other arson attacks.

Separately, Noda’s father, aged 75, said his son had become a vocal critic of nuclear power plant operators after the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 plant and had taken part in anti-nuclear rallies outside the Diet.

He said he cannot believe that his son would commit such crimes.

A man was seen throwing a burning object into an electricity substation in Shinagawa Ward on Aug. 23, around the time the fire broke out. Security camera footage showed a man leaving the scene by bicycle.

The police said they searched Noda’s home and found a yellow cowboy hat and a bicycle resembling those seen on the video. They also found a plastic bottle containing an apparently flammable liquid.

The suspected arson incidents occurred at JR East facilities over several weeks from Aug. 16, in some cases resulting in damage to cables along the tracks. Vegetation was also damaged.

The fires took place at a wide range of locations, including in Shibuya, Nakano and Meguro wards as well as the city of Kokubunji.

Investigators found wires and plastic bottles at the scenes, sometimes both. Some of the bottles had liquid inside and tissue was placed around them with wires.

  • Sam Gilman

    This continues the grand ironic tradition of how the only terrorist attacks on nuclear power in history have been by anti-nuclear activists. (the other one being a future Swiss Green Party MP in the 1980s who bought a grenade launcher from Carlos the Jackal to fire at a French site under construction.).

    • GBR48

      You appear to have forgotten the Stuxnet worm and subsequent car bombs that killed several Iranian nuclear scientists.

      • Sam Gilman

        I take your point, but I’m not sure those were terrorist attacks (ie to effect political change through fear). I think they were just attacks.