Extremists behind explosion near US base in Japan
TOKYO: Police said Tuesday they suspect an explosion near a US army base southwest of Tokyo was an attack by Japanese extremists and mobilized some 140 police officers to investigate.
The blast occurred shortly after 11:00 pm Monday (1400 GMT) at a public park 500 metres (yards) from the US army’s Camp Zama, in Kanagawa, 40 kilometres (25 miles) southwest of Tokyo, police said. No one was injured in the attack, a Zama police spokesman said.
Police found a projectile launcher, a metal pipe about 55 centimetres (22 inches) long and about 5.5 centimetres in diameter, at the park as well as scorch marks on the ground, he said.
“The metal launcher was aimed at the US base and we suspect it was a guerrilla attack,” the official said, referring to Japanese radicals. Police found a second launcher, identical in design to the first pipe, and batteries in a thicket outside the park. “We have yet to find any explosives and I cannot confirm any projectiles actually entered the camp,” he said.
Police have yet to detain any suspects in relation to Monday’s attack and no one has so far claimed responsibility, the official said, contradicting comments by US military officials that a couple of people were already in the custody of Japanese authorities in connection with the explosion.
The spokesman said at least two projectiles were fired as neighbours reported hearing several explosions. —AFP