TOCHIGI (TR) – Tochigi Prefectural Police said a car exploded with a former Self-Defense Force soldier inside at a park in Utsunomiya City on Sunday, injuring three in what appears to be a suicide based on a signed note found on the body.
Police received an emergency call saying a “person was on fire” after an explosion was heard at around 11:40 a.m. near Utsonomiyajoshi Park, the Sankei Shimbun reports (October 23).
The body, identified by police to be former Self-Defense Force officer Toshikatsu Kurihara, 72, was scattered in pieces and a signed note detailing family troubles was stuffed inside one of his socks.
Kurihara’s two-story home also exploded and burned down about 20 minutes before the car blast, the Mainichi Shimbun quoted police as saying.
The explosion and resulting shrapnel inflicted light injuries on three people who were nearby, including a second-year middle school student who suffered an injured leg.
Police are investigating the incident as possible attempted murder in light of civilians becoming injured, the Sankei reported.
A witness near the scene, 55-year-old housewife Noriko Masubuchi, told the Sankei she thought “it was a terrorist attack because of how huge the sound of the blast was.”
“The first one wasn’t that big, but the second one was horrific,” Masubichi said. “The front window glass shattered, and I saw stuff flying out.”
A 20-year-old woman at the scene said she “was so scared, I don’t want to ride in a car.”