Japan arrests men who fired on North Korean 'embassy'

2018-02-24 12:10
Protesters shout slogans outside the venue of an evacuation drill simulating a North Korea ballistic missile attack in Tokyo. (Shizuo Kambayashi, AP, file)

Protesters shout slogans outside the venue of an evacuation drill simulating a North Korea ballistic missile attack in Tokyo. (Shizuo Kambayashi, AP, file)

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Tokyo - Two Japanese right-wing extremists were arrested on Friday after firing shots at a Tokyo building that serves as a de facto embassy for North Korea, police said.

No one was injured in the early morning attack, which only damaged the gate of the facility, but it marked a rare incident of gun violence in a nation that prides itself on strict weapons controls and street safety.

The incident comes as North Korea commands extended global media attention with its participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Satoshi Katsurada, 56, and Yoshinori Kawamura, 46, were arrested after allegedly firing "what appears to be a gun" several times around 03:50 (18:50 GMT), a spokesperson for Tokyo Metropolitan Police said.

"They were arrested on the spot," he said, adding that no one was injured in the incident at the General Association of Korean Residents or Chongryon.

READ: North Korea missile tests are 'imminent threat' - Japan

The two men drove up to the building and fired shots toward the gate from their vehicle, local media said.

They were arrested after they got out of the vehicle.

The two men are associated with right-wing movements, with Katsurada known to have protested against North Korea in the past, media said.

Nam Sung-U, deputy chair of Chongryon, called it a "despicable act of terror".

In a statement, he blamed the Japanese government's "hostile policies" against the North for fuelling hatred toward ethnic Koreans in Japan.

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