Explosions in Japanese park kill at least one person

Police inspect the scene for the blast in the car park (AP)
Police inspect the scene for the blast in the car park (AP)

Multiple blasts in a park area of the Japanese city of Utsunomiya have killed at least one person and injured at least two, emergency services say.

The explosions took place almost simultaneously at about 11:30 local time (02:30 GMT) in the city in Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo.

Two cars in a nearby parking area also caught fire at the same time, police said.

It was not immediately clear what had caused the explosions.

The Japanese broadcaster NHK says police found a suicide note inside one burning car. The vehicle was owned by a 72-year-old man, believed to be a former member of the Self-Defence Forces.

His house in the Utsunomiya city had been destroyed in fire shortly before the explosions hit, the broadcaster said.

A festival celebrating traditional culture had been taking place in a nearby park, where at least one of the explosions was reported to have taken place.

A man who was in the park at the time told NHK that he heard “a big sound” and smelled gunpowder.

The broadcaster also reported that a video camera at nearby Utsunomiya station recorded the sound of three explosions in quick succession – at 11:31, 11:32, and a third “bigger sound” 15 seconds later.

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