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Iwate: Man damages 45 buildings in blast set off during suicide attempt

in Morioka City
Yoshiaki Kurihara ignited propane gas during a suicide attempt in Morioka City last month (Iwate Broadcasting)

IWATE (TR) – Iwate Prefectural Police have arrested a 32-year-old man for setting off an explosion during a suicide attempt last month that caused widespread damage and a number of injuries, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Mar. 7).

At around 11:00 a.m. on February 3, Yoshiaki Kurihara, a company employee, ignited propane gas that he had leaked into his residence in the Nakayashikicho area of Morioka City in an attempt to take his life.

The blast caused damage, including broken windows, to 45 buildings in the area. A couple aged in their 70s, who live nearby, suffered injuries to the face and head. Kurihara experienced fractures to his back.

Police arrested Kurihara after he left the hospital on March 7. The following day, he was sent to prosecutors at the Morioka District Court for allegedly inflicting injury through the leaking of gas.

Explosion was an accident

Through his lawyer, Kurihara said that the explosion was an accident. “I attempted suicide by filling the room with propane gas and downed sleeping pills. However, death did not result,” the suspect said, according to Iwate Broadcasting (Mar. 8).

in Morioka City
A total of 45 buildings in Morioka City were damaged by a blast ignited by a man who attempted suicide in February

Instead, Kurihara simply fell asleep. The explosion occurred after he awoke from his slumber, having failed to take his life. Forgetting that he filled the room with propane, he then lit a cigarette.

“I did not think there was any danger to the neighborhood in leaking gas [into the room],” Kurihara said.

After his arrest, Kurihara offered an apology. “I am very sorry for any inconvenience caused to the residents of the neighborhood,” he said.

Police are now investigating how Kurihara was able to leak the gas into his residence.