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Ex-SDF soldier suicide: Man likely used bomb rigged with shrapnel

Toshikatsu Kurihara
Toshikatsu Kurihara

TOCHIGI (TR) – The former SDF soldier who blew himself up in a car on Sunday in Utsunomiya City likely used a homemade bomb rigged with shrapnel and marbles for greater lethality and could have targeted an area with high foot traffic, police said on Monday.

Police said Toshikatsu Kurihara, 72, a former Self-Defense Force soldier who detonated his home and a car he was sitting in near Utsonomiyajoshi Park at around 11:40 a.m., likely used a homemade bomb that he rigged with shrapnel and marbles to make it more lethal based on fragments found at the scene, Nippon News Network reports (October 24).

A festival was also being held near the park around the time Kurihara detonated the bomb, when groups of children were set to travel through the area but their arrival was delayed.

Police are investigating the possibility that Kurihara purposefully targeted an area with high concentrations of people.

A witness at the scene told the Asahi Shimbun they “thought it was indiscriminate terrorism, so I didn’t know what I’d do if there was another explosion.”

“This might be an exaggeration, but I thought this is what war might feel like,” the witness said.

“I will appeal to society”

A blog post that appeared to have been written by Kurihara complained of family relationships beset by a family member having mental disorders, and said “there’s nothing I can do about this as an individual. I am quite dissatisfied with the modern-day trend where problems won’t even be considered unless they become big incidents” and that he would “appeal to society,” the Huffington Post reported.

Kurihara had been issued a restraining order preventing him from seeing his wife and child and often discussed his divorce proceedings with his wife during volunteer work, Fuji News Network reported.