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One killed in Japanese city park blast

One person has died and three people have been injured after simultaneous blasts in the Japanese city of Utsunomiya. The dead man, a former soldier, is believed to have committed suicide.

A Japanese pensioner blew himself up in the Japanese city of Utsunomiya, in an apparent suicide in which three other people were injured.

A second explosion took place in the nearby parking lot of a park in the city, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Tokyo. The blasts were heard shortly after 11:30 a.m. (0230 UTC), a fire department spokesman said.

The dead man was a 72-year-old former soldier whose house in the city had been destroyed by fire before the explosions. Two men, aged 64 and 58, suffered severe shrapnel wounds while a 14-year-old boy also needed hospital treatment.

Public broadcaster NHK said a badly damaged body was found at a bicycle parking area.

Japan Utsunomiya Explosionen in Park (Getty Images/AFP/Jiji Press)

A broken wooden bench where one of the explosions occurred

A folk art festival was taking place in the park when the blasts were heard, but the event was immediately canceled as news of the incident emerged. 

Footage from NHK showed two cars in a parking lot completely burnt out and a charred and broken bench on the edge of the park. According to the broadcaster, police found a suicide note in one of the burnt vehicles.

Crime rates are relatively low in Japan, and there are no known groups engaged in any violent campaign against the government.

A homemade pipe bomb exploded at a controversial Tokyo war shrine in November last year, damaging toilets, but there were no injuries.

rc/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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