An explosion at around 10 a.m. Monday at controversial Yasukuni Shrine damaged the ceiling and a wall of a public restroom near the shrine’s southern entrance.
No one was reported injured in the incident.
The Tokyo Fire Department received a call reporting a small fire at the shrine to the nation’s war dead, but it was out before firefighters arrived, an official said without elaborating.
More than 100 police, firefighters and shrine officials gathered at the site of the incident. Investigators said the explosion left holes in the ceiling and burn marks on the floor of the bathroom. Batteries and other objects believed to be parts of further unexploded devices were reportedly found at the scene.
“Fortunately, no one was injured,” a Yasukuni official said.
The shrine did not receive any threat in connection with the explosion, the said.
The police declined comment as the case is still under investigation. The person in charge of media at Yasukuni was out and not immediately available for comment.
A Shinto festival started at 10 a.m. as scheduled.
The shrine, which honors Class-A war criminals along with 2.4 million war dead, is regarded abroad as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism and visits to the shrine by politicians have stoked protests from China and South Korea.
Some lawmakers have insisted on making official visits in the name of patriotism, while others say such visits glorify Japan’s historical mistakes.
Emperor Akihito has never visited Yasukuni. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also avoided making official visits over the last two years.
While views on the shrine have also divided the public, it holds emotional significance for many because during the war soldiers promised each other they would reunite at Yasukuni if they died.
Many families and tourists visit the shrine, and Monday was a national holiday, Labor Thanksgiving Day.
The shrine has a grandiose gate, giant cherry trees, flocks of pigeons and a museum that pays homage to those who died in Japan’s wars, including kamikaze pilots.