The policy chief of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan has suggested that a car-burning incident at the Diet on Friday should have occurred at the Prime Minister’s Office.

On Thursday afternoon, Mitsuyoshi Hasegawa, a 54-year-old former leader of a rightwing group, set fire to a car outside the gates to the House of Representatives.

Yoshito Sengoku, DPJ Policy Research Committee chairman, told a news conference Thursday evening: “If (Hasegawa) has complaints with the government, why didn’t he target the Prime Minister’s Office or the Cabinet Office. It’s hard to understand.”

“I feel a shiver. We should deal severely with the crime and what caused it.” Some media organizations claimed that Sengoku’s comments could be seen as an endorsement of terrorism.

On Friday, Sengoku said, “My words denouncing terrorism and that (Hasegawa) should have protested (by proper means) if he had a complaint with the government have been twisted.”

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters at his office, “It is no good to be seen to be promoting terrorism.”

Hasegawa was arrested soon after setting fire to the car. He told police that he wanted to protest the government’s handling of North Korea’s past abductions of Japanese citizens.

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