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Man sets himself on fire in Tokyo in protest against Abe

72 Comments
By Miwa Suzuki

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On the 7 pm news, NHK remains silent on this. There is no report on the data news sections either. Why?

43 ( +48 / -5 )

Wow. Passionate political action. I hope he's listened to.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Disturbing video of it in progress here if you can stomach it... I daren't watch the thing http://yuzu-ponzu.tumblr.com/post/90230137161

3 ( +4 / -1 )

That's just so messed up!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

On the 7 pm news, NHK remains silent on this. There is no report on the data news sections either. Why?

The NHK newsroom needs to check with Momii-san and Hyakuta-san on how to report this story. Same reason they were slow to report on the Tokyo LDPs bullying of a female lawmaker.

25 ( +27 / -2 )

On the 7 pm news, NHK remains silent on this. There is no report on the data news sections either. Why?

Welcome to Abeland.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Horrible. I hope he pulls through.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Guys please don't set yourself on fire! If you're that passionate about your beliefs, you're far more useful alive than dead!

12 ( +14 / -2 )

The NHK newsroom needs to check with Momii-san and Hyakuta-san on how to report this story. Same reason they were slow to report on the Tokyo LDPs bullying of a female lawmaker.

Yeah, I recall Momii san aka NHK the broadcaster cannot say "right or left" till our fellow government gives him what to say. Long gone is the spirit of journalism form NHK...

26 ( +31 / -5 )

Back on topic please. NHK is not relevant to this discussion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Shunsuke: "On the 7 pm news, NHK remains silent on this. There is no report on the data news sections either. Why?"

Because Abe approved the secrecy bill. Any media attention on this can be punishable with prison. I remember a country that once did this kind of thing, led by people called Nazis (and I remember the politicians in office, act least some of them, like Taro Aso, saying they should emulate their tactics!), who engaged in this kind of thing -- oh, and also Japan pre-atomic bombings. Abe seems to want to return to a place where you literally NEED whale blubber for nutrition because the nation was bombed into starvation.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What an absolute nutter... I don't agree with the politicians and political classes in my country but I sure as hell am not going to get myself alight for it!

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Anything you have to harm yourself or others over is not worth having.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Photos of the event here (much, much, much less disturbing than the video above): http://www.japantrends.com/man-self-immolates-in-shinjuku-in-protest-at-collective-self-defense-law-burn-torch-suicide-shinzo-abe-government/

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's appearing on the Japanese news now.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Just horrible to see anyone become so desperate! The last time I remember someone setting themselves on fire, (In protest) was when many Tibetan monks could not find any other way to get their message of the Tibetan plight. Though they are very different circumstances, I feel very sad for any human being that feels they have to use this extreme form of protest!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Deeply disturbing. The Abe factor is not going anywhere pretty or helpful.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Watched that vid, it was weird. He was on a platform or scaffolding, kind of lying over with flames around him but not seemingly on him, he was motionless, then a rescue guy comes to get him, pulls at him which causes him to fall like 5m, hits like a sack of potatoes, ouch!, I'm thinking, and then his body bursts into flames. The flames up above continue burning too.

I hope he really really wanted to do that, because living as a burn victim is supposedly not too fun.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's being reported that he fell. You can clearly see a fireman pulling him down to a 3 meter freefall. Self immolation has historical precedents. I'm not judging this one act, but during the 60s it had a profound political impact when it happened in Vietnam. Desperate times, desperate measures.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The premier is pushing to reinterpret Japan’s strict pacifist constitution to allow its well-equipped armed forces to fight in defense of an ally, something currently prohibited.

Let's be sure about this! He has no intention of helping other nations. He only wants the opportunity to lob shells at Chinese ships and planes the get too close to those specks of rock in the south 'China' sea.

This is a very sad event and I hope this extremist recovers, but it shows very clearly the lengths Japanese people have to go through to get into the stone heads of those bureaucratic goons running the country.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

It’s a tragedy, indeed.

First, passing the State Secrecy laws, now twisting arm to rush through so called ‘collective self-defense' {Both actions are against the wills of majority of Japanese population } ,Abe’s warmongering admin has been intentionally chipping away the very foundation of Japan’s peace and prosperity that last for 70 years.

What a tragedy!

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Watched that vid, it was weird. He was on a platform or scaffolding, kind of lying over with flames around him but not seemingly on him, he was motionless, then a rescue guy comes to get him, pulls at him which causes him to fall like 5m, hits like a sack of potatoes, ouch!, I'm thinking, and then his body bursts into flames

That's how gasoline soaked items react when thrown (or in this case, dropped). The additional oxygen provided by flying through the air creates bigger flames. It's sad to see this happen with a human being, but it's a normal gasoline reaction.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

There have been many of these self immolations in South Korea and Thailand over the past few decades.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kind of lying over with flames around him but not seemingly on him, he was motionless

Pretty sure he was already dead by that point

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

before making any changes in the constitution, general public should be listened and should be taken in to confidence. at the same time such kind of patterns for demonstrations are dangerous.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Even ten other people did this, Abe will not stop his steps to war, and believe me he will say "I am sorry they can't understand me" as usual.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Really! This is so stupid. First why are there so many comments making this guy out to be a hero? He is not a hero is very misguided fool who is acting like he is living under some military dictatorship or colonial occupation force. He is not. He is living in a representative democracy and he as all Japanese citizens do has a voice on election day. This sort of "protest" is misguided as it will not stop policy from being enacted by duly elected governments and only in the end makes those engaged look unbalanced and out of touch with reality. It will not win hearts to the cause in the long run as more of such acts will only draw the rational oriented to the fact that Abe is not some dictator and that such acts as self immolation are extreme given how lacking in repression Japanese political rights are. No, this man belongs in a mental ward not on some pedestal. I feel that many who are so quick to try and make this man out to be brave and an example of passionate politics are engaging in sensationalism without realizing it. If you don't like Abe, don't vote for him and join others on election day in using the mechanism of the state to put people in a position of power that you do like.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

after all japan's been through , abe will put japan in danger by his decision , KEEP the constitution the way it is , fighting taking part in war's will bring terrorism to japan , putting us in danger, if a japanese soldier killed in another country that persons family or friend would seek revenge coming here . ENOUGH, the man who set himself on fire has Guts and a heart

3 ( +7 / -4 )

A stupid action that will do nothing towards the debate.

mgglifeJun. 29, 2014 - 10:13PM JST Even ten other people did this, Abe will not stop his steps to war

Japan is being forced to do what it is doing to PREVENT war. The ONLY country that has openly talked of preparing for war is China.

-15 ( +6 / -21 )

Yet again a Japanese citizen proves that, contrary to the naysayers and their negative stereotypes. ordinary Japanese citizens DO protest in public against issues they feel passionate about. In this case, a protest against revising the constitution, refuting the notion that all Japanese are ignorant war mongers.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Japan is being forced to do what it is doing to PREVENT war.

in modern history it was Japan which invaded China and brutally slaughtering more than 30 million of its citizens, including women and babies with the very extensive use of biological weapons, gas and human experiments, mass rapes and executions all of which didn't stop until Japan surrendered.

5 ( +8 / -5 )

OssanAmericaJUN. 29, 2014 - 10:44PM JST Japan is being forced to do what it is doing to PREVENT war. The ONLY country that has openly talked of preparing for war is China.

You mean 'tempted' and yeah Abe and his cohorts never provoked China in the last 2 years. What short term memories you have.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I certainly hope the man survived. It will be interesting to find out more about him and his motives in the coming days.

I also think part of the reason this hasn't been picked up by the local media as quickly is because they need to verify and corroborate the information. This isn't that easy to do when you don't even know who the man was and there is no record of what he was actually saying prior to setting himself alight.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Would I be willing to set myself on fire? Probably not. Would I be willing to die for what I believe in, most certainly a big yes! And if you are not willing to die for what you believe in means your beliefs are not so great.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

I call this the "Mishima Complex".

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

"The middle-aged Japanese man doused himself in what appeared to be petrol before setting himself alight outside the main train station in Shinjuku"

These train stations seem, and appear to be place were "incidents" take place...I saw a nutter acting strange, disgruntled, and bellicose at Iidabashi Station the other day

-10 ( +3 / -12 )

As one of japanese people, what i think seriously problematic is not the way he took to state his political belief, but japanese citizens' attitude toward this incident. From right after the incident till now enormous numbers of people tweeted about it but all they were value-neutral and no-deliberated facto-based ones. I believe that this is due to japanese people's lacking of rumination on society or politics, and so nobody pay attention to what drove our citizen to decide to commit such a violent action. Especially since the end of WW2, we just tracked the surface of western modernization, nah it was actually industrialization , and even while westerners start trying to refute it in philosophical sphere, we've just blindly believed it as the absolute-god and lost something much more important. After all some Japanese intelligentsias have said that his act was against the basic rule of democracy, but i think our citizens' being such idiots is much worse and miserable than it!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The news that a Japanese man set himself on fire (with the video) was picked up by major international news agencies across the continents. That’s definitely a damaging publicity on Japan’s already tarnished image.

For quite a while, Abe's admin has s been struggling in promoting Japan’s ‘peaceful intent’ in the international stage, yet such tragic news would be a latest blow to Abe’s old-boy network after Akihiro Suzuki’s sexist heckling.

People in the world begin to realize that the every threat that threatens Japan’s future could be right inside Japan, within Japanese themselves - Toru Hashimoto, Shintaro ishihara, Shinzo abe, Nariaki Nakayama …might be the culprits.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Nothing on earth would provoke me to set my self on fire in protest. And especially not as a political statement

0 ( +2 / -2 )

sometimes u have to think that maybe this man, with his own strong convictions, think that maybe setting himself on fire is far better than setting millions of innocent people (japanese or non-japanese) on fire with the start of another war as the govnt is heading toward changing article nine.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@strangerland,

REally?! Because it looked like he wasn't even burning, and then woof! Poor guy. Except he chose it. Definitely a mussed up rescue attempt though.

That's actually something no one is talking about either, though. W/ a news blackout on this stuff, they can't investigate the rescue protocol and if any mistakes were made.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Trying to say that mistakes could have been made takes away from the fact that this guy decided to do it himself. There is no fault to be placed with a situation like this other than on the man himself.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I am against revision of the Constitution but I don't think this fellow has helped the cause much by his act. When I am in Tokyo I have business in that area and have used that pedestrian bridge many times. That whole area is always thronged with people, including underneath the bridge. He could easily have injured other people. On weekends I also often see young families there. This is not something I would want little kids to be seeing. You can go on about his bravery but I think the majority of people will see him as a nutcase who went too far the wrong way in the wrong place.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

It's an incredibly desperate last act to demand action. From Ryszard Siwiec and on.

I hope he is OK and the this is not ignored.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Did he fire on himse;f standing? He fell on fire? Fire fell on him? Or someone dosed him?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Toshiko - the title of the article is very clear as to what happened.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Strangerland: How he set fire on himself after speech? The title is not clear/

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Rather than jump in front of a passing train,this man has attempted to pass on a message to the people of Japan. This was clearly a act well thought out with a megaphone,two bottles of accelerants,a formal suit and the man even appeared to be sitting on a cloth to prevent his suit being sullied? Burning oneself alive is an extremely painful way to die and this fact was possibly known to the man.

What will we learn of this individual,his reasons for protest and why he chose this grisly way to die wi most likely not become know - if that is the case then his death will have had relevance.....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

He doused himself with petrol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a very unstable way to protest against Abe and Co.. He now makes his side of the debate look more insane than the other. Remember those Koreans who burnt themselves in protest of Japan 15 years or so ago? Japanese looked on at them as mentally unstable. That's how this guy should be seem. As another poster commented, Japan isn't a repressed dictatorship with no other avenues to protest. So silly. He does nothing but bring negative attention to his side of the debate.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Irrational people will always commit irrational acts.

I am glad that no one else was hurt due to this insane person.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

kurisupisu "What will we learn of this individual,his reasons for protest and why he chose this grisly way to die wi most likely not become know - if that is the case then his death will have had relevance....."

He hasn't died and isn't expected to. As of about 9:30 a.m. Monday, the Morning Bird program reported that his identity still hasn't been confirmed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Was it worth it? Dumb just dumb!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As tragic and gruesome this story is, I'm afraid we will see other acts of such in protest to Abe-san changes!! It usually starts with one to protest - and others will follow. Abe-san, it's time for your to step down before this escalates.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The man is not really keen on dying from self immolation. If so, he could have just perform harakiri then. Not that Iam against self expression but the man just want to get attention to whatever he is fighting for. Who knows if he is paid to do this thing! He did it so a lot of people would try to do something to dissuade him and at the end still be alive. Stories behind the stories are hard to tell.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'm sure the Communist Party of China appreciates and supports the protester in undermining his country's efforts at creating a more powerful deterrence to their aggression. Keep fighting the good fight, comrade.

This guy lives in a representative republic, and this type of demonstration should be universally condemned. Want your voice heard? There are a myriad number of ways to do it through the democratic process. "Mishima syndrome," indeed. Didn't work for him, and its not going to work for you.

Collective self-defense is happening and it is good for Japan. The section of the Japanese population who are not comfortable with the idea of protecting themselves, and instead want to wholly rely on the US, are just going to have to man-up and accept it.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@tosap what good is a democracy if you see japan's governing body heading in the direction of pre-war Japan and there's nothing you can do to stop it? Besides, on election day this man only has 1 vote he cast, unless he can sway the general public by waking them up like this... and he very well may get peoples attention; lighting yourself on fire for political reasons is so arienai that people can't help but think of why he would go so far... and then naturally become more politically aware in order to find out.

I'm proud of him overall, but endangering other human beings is another matter.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

kurisupisu JUN. 30, 2014 - 07:41AM JST Rather than jump in front of a passing train,this man has attempted to pass on a message to the people of Japan. This was clearly a act well thought out with a megaphone,two bottles of accelerants,a formal suit and the man even appeared to be sitting on a cloth to prevent his suit being sullied? Burning oneself alive is an extremely painful way to die and this fact was possibly known to the man.

What is the best way to get attention? Endangering harm to yourself. For proof, click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thich_Quang_Duc.

At the same time, the man realised jumping in front of the train would have made him as just an overworked salaryman. We've been arguing with right-wingers why revising article 9 is bad timing and it fell on deaf ears. Japanese seems to realise how corrupt the government system is and know it'd be very hard to change that's why I can understand why they don't bother with politics. I mean just look at Ms Shiozawa who attempted to address her issues, LDP was like "Yes, yes we're on that and why don't you do your part and get married?' There is no reasoning with the fringe group whose mindset is like communism is evil and capitalism is good. It's like infantile way of looking at politics black and white.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Self-immolation is not an uncommon form of protest in South and East Asia. Although it has been fairly rare in Japan recently. One could argue that it is the action of an unstable individual, but one could also argue it could be a sign of the times in Japan. The Japanese media would do well to give this as much coverage as it gives fascisitic housewives rants at the verey least.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Let's be sure about this! He has no intention of helping other nations. He only wants the opportunity to lob shells at Chinese ships and planes the get too close to those specks of rock in the south 'China' sea.

And you know this because....?

Suicide as a protest against allowing the SDF to come to the aid of Japan's allies is a tad extreme. It's the passers-by that I'm more concerned about... the sight of a man on fire will have burned itself into their minds. How many people will have had nightmares. How many people will be mentally scarred by that? I can't even watch the video.

You want to protest? March, don't screw other peoples' lives up.

(Hope he gets better)

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

'the sight of a man on fire will have burned itself into their minds...'

Very true, and his actions should in no way be condoned, but the current actions, behavior and posturing of the Japanese government are not doing anything to decrease the possibility of many more people witnessing those types of sights in one way or another.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Was in the news(TV-Tokyo) a few minutes ago with footage, etc.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

OssanAmerica

China... directly challenging U.S. strategic dominance in the region

The audacity of it! Sailing up the Hudson like that...

Sarcasm aside, in the latest Nikkei poll, only 34% are in favor of changing the constitution:

http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Policy-Politics/Half-of-Japanese-against-expanding-defense-powers-poll

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@it's me it is also the top story on the Japan Times website right now, some interesting developments

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

SenseNotSoCommonJun. 30, 2014 - 07:26PM JST Sarcasm aside, in the latest Nikkei poll, only 34% are in favor of changing the constitution: http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Policy-Politics/Half-of-Japanese-against-expanding-defense-powers-poll

Do you actually believe that polling 1,000 people will give you an accurate indication as to how 120,000,000 people feel about anything?

If polls were a real indication as to how the majority of people actually fell or felt Mitt Romney would be President of the United States.

Here are some news about how polls got it all wrong recently.

http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2013/05/17/why_do_pollsters_keep_getting_it_wrong.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/top-republicans-relying-pollster-cantors-race-wrong-2014-6

http://news.in.msn.com/elections-2014/exit-polls-keep-a-pinch-of-salt-handy

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8588747.stm

I asked 11 ladies in a café what they thought about revising the Japanese Constitution and 7 were in favor while 4 were against. My poll says 64% of the Japanese are in favor of revising the Constitution.

My poll is as relevant as those conducted by newspapers, both mean absolutely nothing.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In Japan he has freedom of speech , so instead of speaking for just 1 hour before trying to kill himself, he should spend the rest of his life to speak out for his cause.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A mentally unstable person sets himself on fire and you blame Abe for that ?

No stable person does that in this day and age in a civilised country, there are far better ways to make your voice heard.

Abe is not responsible for this happening, AND Japan does need to prepare for the rising aggression from China and the decline in Americas will to fight.

Japan cannot go on for ever expecting big brother to look after it in the school yard, the day always come where you must stand up by yourself for yourself.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

MGigante

Constitutional Monarchy. But yes I completely agree with you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FrungyJun. 30, 2014 - 09:30AM JST "OssanAmericaJun. 30, 2014 - 09:03AM JST Really>? Who do you think helped Chinas get to where it is from the economic basket case that it was in the mid 1980s? Who gave China Most Preferred Trading status? The U.S. HAS NOT targeted China as public enemy no.1 which is exactly why China has felt free to plow it's earnings, not into creating a large middle class and moving towards democracy as we had all hoped, but into the military and their territorial expansion program directly challenging U.S. strategic dominance in the region.. In retrospect, we SHOULD HAVE treated them as public enemy number 1 instead of creating a Frankenstein monster that could start WWIII."

... so what you're saying is that the U.S. gave most preferred trading status to an openly despotic country that >routinely abuses human rights, and now the U.S. is gearing up to attack them because the U.S. messed up and >created a monster?

No the U.S.in not gearing up to "attack them", we are gearing up to prevent them from attacking others including ourselves. The media is calling this "containment". Maybe you've heard of it recently?

Looks like you and I agree on our analysis of the situation. I disagree on the proposed solution though.

My solution is to treat them as the monsters they are. Withdraw trade preferences, make them hurt economically where it counts, instead of catering to them. China lied to the world for decades with this "Peaceful Rise" horsedung and now they are drunk with nationalism, their government is more an authoritarian dictatorship than ever before, the PLA has more power than ever before and they openly talk of "preparing for war".

So, what's YOUR solution?

"Conquest of China?? You really anybody on this planer seriously contemplates the "conquest" of 1/4 of the world's population?"

Umm... yes, the U.S. It has a track record of biting off more than it can chew, and has already invaded China twice >(check your history books). China has a huge supply of minerals and is basically held together with spit and duct tape.

Boxer Rebellion in 1900 when the Qing Dynasty was the "Sick Man of Asia"? The US East Indies Squadron in China? Neither were "invasions" of China.

Right now it is a fairly easy target.

Right now China has never been a tougher target.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Any word on the man's name? Been wondering when they will release this loons name.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

let him 'roast' in peace if that's what he preferref ... absolutely not a good idea to make his point!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Yes, I too am wondering when the man's background will be released-my cynical side says never......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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