Date
24 April 2019
Hong Kong activist Kwok Siu-kit shouts slogans while holding a protest banner and setting on fire a memorial tablet inside the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Wednesday. Photo: Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands/Facebook
Hong Kong activist Kwok Siu-kit shouts slogans while holding a protest banner and setting on fire a memorial tablet inside the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Wednesday. Photo: Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands/Facebook

HK activists arrested after fiery protest at Tokyo shrine

Japanese police arrested two Hong Kong activists who staged a fiery protest at a controversial shrine in Tokyo, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Kwok Siu-kit and Yim Man-wa, members of the Hong Kong-based Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, entered the Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyoda, central Tokyo, at around 7 a.m. on Wednesday.

According to Japanese media, Kwok, 55, stood in front of a gate in the middle of the shrine, in which those who died in the service of Japan during World War II are commemorated, and set a makeshift memorial tablet on fire to protest the Japanese occupation of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, called Senkaku Islands in Japan.

The tablet was inscribed with the name of Japan’s wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, one of the war criminals commemorated in the Shinto shrine. 

Online video clips uploaded by the group showed Kwok holding a commemorative banner and shouting, “Down with militarism! Forget not the Nanjing Massacre! Japan must apologize!” before he was subdued by guards.

Kwok was arrested on suspicion of trespassing, media reports said. Yim, who videotaped the protest, was also detained and questioned.

In its official blog, the Center for Consular Assistance and Protection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Chinese Embassy in Japan has sought information from the Japanese authorities and requested to visit the duo.

Asked by media about the government’s response to the incident, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said the administration informed the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong SAR immediately after learning about what happened and the Immigration Department will continue to closely liaise with the Chinese Embassy in Japan.

The government will extend all the assistance possible to the arrested, Cheung added.

The Hong Kong activist group, which was established in 1996 to defend Chinese sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands, said on its social media page that it has lawyers to follow up on the case.

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TL/JC/CG

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