• Kyodo


Tokyo prosecutors have indicted a South Korean man for trespassing at Yasukuni Shrine in late November when a small explosion occurred there.

Chon Chang-han, 27, allegedly entered the shrine’s grounds with unlawful intent on the morning of Nov. 23. The blast occurred in a men’s restroom at the shrine around 10 a.m. that day.

In addition to Monday’s indictment, police are planning to serve another arrest warrant on Chon, possibly next month, on suspicion of violating the explosives control law, which prohibits manufacturing, possessing and setting off explosives without permission, investigative sources said.

Chon returned to South Korea on the afternoon of Nov. 23 before re-entering Japan on Dec. 9. He was arrested that day when he arrived in Tokyo. The police found gunpowder and a timer device in his backpack, according to the investigative sources.

An element of gunpowder was detected on metal pipes found in the ceiling of the shrine restroom, leading the police to suspect Chon of making a timed firing device and planting it to inflict damage on the Shinto shrine.

The shrine is seen by some nations as a symbol of Japanese militarism before and during World War II. China and South Korea in particular protest when high-ranking Japanese politicians visit the shrine as it honors Class-A war criminals along with around 2.5 million war dead.

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