A South Korean man in his eighties set himself on fire on Wednesday during a protest calling for Japan to apologise for forcing Korean women to work in military brothels during World War Two, days ahead of the anniversary of the end of hostilities.
South Korean sets himself on fire in anti-Japan "comfort women" protest
With the anniversary looming, the protest was larger than normal, with about 2,000 demonstrators, including three of the 47 known surviving Korean "comfort women", as they were euphemistically called by Japan, organisers said.
The self-immolation came during a regular weekly demonstration outside the Japanese embassy ahead of the Aug. 15 anniversary marking 70 years since the end of Japan's colonial occupation of the Korean peninsula.
Bystanders covered the man with protest banners to put out the flames and paramedics took him to hospital.
"It appears he tried to kill himself by setting himself on fire, given a drink bottle that he had smells of gasoline," a firefighter said.
Yonhap news agency said the man was in his 80s and had travelled from the southern city of Gwangju.
In South Korea, Japan's 1910-1945 colonisation of the Korean peninsula remains a sensitive subject.
South Korea's ties with Japan have long been strained by what Seoul sees as Japanese leaders' reluctance to atone for the country's wartime past, including a full recognition of its role in forcing Korean girls and women to work in brothels.
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