Police raid Chūkaku-ha headquarters, Zenshinsha

The renewed conflict between far-left group Kakukyōdō (usually known as Chūkaku-ha) and police continues. Following the arrests of three activists on a demo march after a 5,700-strong rally by a labour union associated with the group on November 2nd, a security police officer was exposed while undercover on the campus of Kyoto University. He was then held on the campus by students before being released.

Now the police have retaliated by raiding the Chūkaku-ha headquarters, Zenshinsha, in east Tokyo, this morning at 8:30. The excuse was that while the demo passed through Ginza on November 2nd,  three  Zengakuren student activists (two of whom were from Kyoto University) affiliated with Chūkaku-ha allegedly assaulted police officers and were arrested for obstructing a public official carrying out their duties.

police raid chukaku-ha kakukyodo zenshisha

Zenshinsha serves as the head of the Chūkaku-ha organ and its other publications, though it is also the de facto HQ of the organisation. In police terminology it is an ajito, a secret base where radicals live. Security is tight — to protect against attacks by rightists and Kakumaru-ha, as much to keep out the police — and news footage showed police breaking into the doors with metal cutters. Media reports have made no mention of further arrests but say the authorities mobilised 160 officers for the two-hour raid, which resulted in organs and USB memory sticks being confiscated.

While today’s scenes were dramatic enough, the police actually quite regularly raid Zenshinsha on various trumped-up charges. Chūkaku-ha recently won a lengthy court case about a similar search in 2009 prior to the same Dōrō Chiba annual labour rally where the trouble kicked off this year. In 2009 the police took 1,418 items away with them, including computers. Chūkaku-ha sued because they see it as oppression and because the police had not even checked the content of the items whether they actually pertained to the case being investigated. The court ruling awarded damages, though did not admit that the raid had been illegal.

The current wave of tit-for-tat comes against further tension between Hōsei University and student activists there.

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