- Title: Neighbours shock by blasts and apparent suicide of Japanese man
- Date: 24th October 2016
- Summary: UTSUNOMIYA, JAPAN (OCTOBER 24, 2016) (REUTERS) BURNT UP CAR PARKED AT A CAR PARK 200 METRES FROM THE PARK WHERE REPORTED SUSPECT TOSHIKATSU KURIHARA BLEW HIMSELF UP / POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATING SITE BURNT CAR POLICE AND FIRE FIGHTERS INVESTIGATING SITE / BURNT CAR POLICE AND FIRE FIGHTERS AT SITE CHARRED VENDING MACHINE (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) A RESIDENT LIVING NEAR THE PARK, KEIKO OSHIMA, SAYING: "I thought this area was safe, during the day or at night, and I thought explosions were a distant occurrence, so I could not imagine something like this happening." POLICE CORDON OUTSIDE PARK WHERE EXPLOSION HAPPENED POLICE INVESTIGATING PARK (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) A RESIDENT LIVING NEAR THE PARK, KIN TAKAYAMA, SAYING: "I can't remember who it was but there was a man or a woman screaming, 'a leg just flew towards me'." POLICE INVESTIGATING BURNT CAR FIRE FIGHTERS APPROACHING BURNT CAR (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) NEIGHBOUR, MASAJI SAITO, SAYING: "I sometimes saw him at the supermarket, but he wasn't an angry person, he was very calm in nature, really. Not at all a violent person. Very proper, and gentlemanly as well." SURROUNDING AREA OF BLAST, SUSPECT KURIHARA'S HOME TOCHIGI PREFECTURE FIRE FIGHTERS SURROUNDING THE AREA / POLICE CORDONING OFF SITE WINDOW OF BURNT HOUSE EXTERIOR OF BURNT HOUSE / NEIGHBOURING HOUSES POLICE INVESTIGATING BURNT DOWN HOUSE BURNT ROOF POLICE INVESTIGATING BURNT DOWN HOUSE EXTERIOR OF BURNT HOUSE (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) NEIGHBOUR WHO SAW THE EXPLOSION, TOMIO OTSUKA, SAYING: "The roof of that second-storey home flew off." BURNT DOWN ROOF
- Embargoed: 8th November 2016 10:06
- Keywords: suicide blasts pensioner Utsunomiya dead injured explosion Japan
- Location: UTSUNOMIYA, JAPAN
- City: UTSUNOMIYA, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Crime
- Reuters ID: LVA00155D5LC5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Neighbours expressed their shock on Monday (October 24) the day after three separate blasts occurred in the Japanese city of Utsunomiya, while investigators continued to work at the sites.
All three explosions happened consecutively on Sunday (October 23), including one where a 72-year old retired soldier blew himself up in a park killing himself in an apparent suicide, where a folk art festival was underway.
A suicide note signed by the suspect - who has been named by local media as Toshikatsu Kurihara - was discovered in his right sock and reportedly said "I will make an atonement by taking my life" and also mentioned family troubles.
Three people who were at the park were injured.
The first blast occurred in the morning at Kurihara's home, eight kilometers away from the apparent suicide.
Neighbours living in the quiet residential area were startled by the loud explosion.
Tomio Otsuka, who lives in an apartment across the street from Kurihara, said the loud noise led him out of his house.
"The roof of that second-storey home flew off," Otsuka said.
The former Self Defence Force member is suspected to have built explosives from scattered metal parts and firework material found around the blast sites.
Masaji Saito, another neighbour who sometimes saw him at the supermarket expressed shock as Kurihara seemed to be a very calm person.
"I sometimes saw him at the supermarket, but he wasn't an angry person, he was very calm in nature, really. Not at all a violent person. Very proper, and gentlemanly as well," Saito said.
Kurihara's recent blog entries showed deep resentment towards the government, and a souring relationship with his former wife, after his daughter was diagnosed with a mental illness.
Another blast happened at a car park 200 meters from the park, where three cars were burnt, including one that belonged to Kurihara.
Police are still investigating the connection between the three incidents, and Kurihara's motive.
Suicide rates have declined in Japan in recent years, but remain among the highest in the world, with around 30,000 people a year taking their own lives.
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