In 1963, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc committed suicide by burning himself, in protest against the violent persecution of Buddhists by the United States-supported South Vietnamese dictatorship.
Over half a century later; translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:
Sunday 29 May 2014, 12:07 (Update: 29-06-14, 13:34)
The man set himself on fire in protest against military plans
The man of about sixty years of age disagrees with the plans of Prime Minister Abe to end the pacifist policy of Japan. Abe wants in the next few days to change the Japanese constitution, making it possible to join military allies in warfare if they are attacked.
Dressed in a suit, the man climbed on the roof of a pedestrian bridge at the busiest station in the world, the Shinjuku station. Three to five million passengers use it every day. First he did a speech against the plans.
When firefighters brought ladders to remove him, he set himself on fire. The man survived the self-immolation.
The changes are a sudden, drastic change of the nearly 70-year-old pacifist policy of Japan.
Since the end of World War II, the Japanese army is only allowed to operate in self-defence. The majority of the population is against the changes; they have not been debated extensively in parliament. Political commentators say that democracy is undermined.
Neighbouring countries fear that Japan is on a militaristic path once again. Earlier this year it became possible for Japan to export weapons. Since the end of World War II that had been no longer allowed.
See also here.