Amid the ongoing tensions between Seoul and Tokyo, a South Korean man has died after setting himself ablaze near the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Friday, according to police.
A 78-year-old, surnamed Kim ignited a fire inside his car parked in front of the building where the Japanese Embassy is located, police said.
About 20 disposable gas canisters were also found in this car, authorities said.
No suicide note has been found.
Police had earlier said flammable materials were also found in the car that Kim borrowed from an acquaintance on Thursday.
Seoul police said that they will analyze possible evidence from Kim’s mobile phone and investigate people concerned to try to determine the exact motive for his action.
The man’s self-immolation comes with relations between Seoul and Tokyo at their worst in decades after Japan recently tightened export controls for some high-tech materials.
South Korea and Japan are both key U.S. allies. But they often have been embroiled in disputes stemming from the Japanese colonial occupation.
On Friday, Tokyo summoned Seoul’s ambassador to Japan to protest Seoul’s refusal to join in an arbitration panel to settle the ongoing dispute.
In response to Tokyo, Seoul had to confirm it’s request for a three-nation panel.
On Wednesday, the South’s presidential Blue House posted tweets slamming Japan’s wartime atrocities, comparing the Korean victims to Simon Wiesenthal, a Jewish Austrian Holocaust survivor.