Report: Man self-immolates in Tokyo public park to protest changes in Japan's defense policies

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TOKYO — A man died after setting himself on fire in a public park in apparent protest over Japan's military policies, media reports say.

Responding to reports of a fire, a police officer found the man engulfed in flames in central Tokyo's Hibiya Park, Kyodo News Agency said. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Notes addressed to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and legislative leaders were found near the burning body, the Asahi newspaper said, citing investigators. The notes criticize a Cabinet decision earlier this year to lift a ban on the military's right to collective self-defense.

A video camera, apparently set up by the man, recorded the self-immolation, media reports said.

The role of Japan's military was restricted to defense of the country's territory for most of the post-World War II era, and many Japanese opposed loosening those restrictions. Abe's Cabinet reinterpreted the constitution in July to allow the military also to defend allies under attack in what is known as collective self-defense.

In June, another man set himself on fire on an outdoor elevated walkway near Tokyo's busy Shinjuku train station in apparent protest over the then-impending Cabinet decision. He survived.

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