A man was sentenced to seven months in prison for threatening to kill Nagasaki’s mayor after the official said the late Emperor Hirohito bore some responsibility for World War II.
Nagasaki District Court officials said Masato Saito, 26, was sentenced Thursday. He was arrested Jan. 5 after he broke into City Hall, armed with a knife, in an attempt to force Mayor Hitoshi Motoshima to retract his statement on the emperor’s war responsibility.
Hirohito, who held divine status until Japan’s defeat in the war in 1945, died on Jan. 7 of intestinal cancer. He was 87.
Saito’s arrest came about nine weeks after the mayor stated in a municipal assembly session that the then-ailing emperor could have ended the war sooner and spared Nagasaki from being attacked with a U.S. atomic bomb in the war’s closing days.
The mayor’s remarks angered Japanese right-wing groups, who generally promote respect for the emperor.