SEOUL: A South Korean man set himself on fire during an anti-Japan protest in Seoul on Wednesday, but police said he appeared to have avoided life-threatening injuries.
The 80-year-old sustained third-degree burns on his upper body and arms and was breathing when he was carried into an emergency vehicle, said rescue worker Woo Kyung-suk. The man’s motives weren’t immediately clear.
The rally in front of the Japanese Embassy was attended by hundreds of people demanding justice for South Korean women who were forced to work as sex slaves for the Japanese military during World War II.
Kim Sun-min, who was among several people who rushed over to help put out the flames, said he didn’t notice the man before he set himself ablaze on a flower bed near where the rally was being held.
Lumps of burnt cotton and a small glass bottle that reeked of gasoline were found at the scene.
Many South Koreans harbor deep resentment against Japan over its colonial occupation. Hundreds of thousands of Koreans were forced to fight as front-line soldiers, work in slave-labor conditions or serve as prostitutes in brothels operated by the Japanese military during the war.