• Kyodo


Police on Monday conducted an inspection of the site where a nail bomb exploded during a festival here Saturday night, injuring 10 people, one seriously, police said.

The blast occurred around 10:35 p.m. at a garbage collection site during the Yosakoi Soran Festival held at Odori Park in the city’s Chuo Ward.

In the explosion, Tomohiro Yasuda, 19, a freshman at Sapporo Gakuin University who is on the festival’s organizing committee, suffered a serious chest injury in which a nail was removed from his body, police said.

Four men and five women were also injured.

Several dozen nails were found around the explosion site, leading inspectors to suspect someone planted a device containing gunpowder and nails.

Police said some nails were found as far away as 50 meters from the explosion point.

The explosion, which occurred inside a prefabricated complex, took place when Yasuda tried to move a paper cup that had been placed on an ashtray stand, police said.

Other members of the committee who checked the area shortly before the blast said they did not see the cup, police said.

Police suspect the cup, which came from a local fast-food restaurant, either contained a smoke candle that held the explosives or that it acted as the trigger for the device, police said.

On Monday morning, the investigators inspected the site along with eight other members of the organizing committee who sustained minor injuries in the explosion.

The site was one of the festival’s main locations.

When the blast occurred, all events scheduled for the day had been concluded, the organizing committee said.

“I thought the sound of the explosion was a sign to end the day’s festival events,” said an 18-year-old vocational school student who was several hundred meters away.

Meanwhile, police have found many messages on a Web site criticizing the festival, they said.

One of the messages said: “There is only one answer to force (the festival organizers) to cancel Yosakoi: plant a bomb at the main festival site. He he he he he he. . .”

They are checking the logs to determine if writers are linked to the case, they said.