Police raid far-left group Kakurōkyō sites ahead of Trump visit to Japan

Japanese media reported that the police conducted raids on November 2nd at five sites linked to one of the factions of the far-left radical group Kakurōkyō (Revolutionary Workers).

Deliberately timed as a crackdown just ahead of the arrival of President Trump in Japan on November 5th, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department as well as Saitama and Kanagawa police searched the sites, including Sekisaisha, the official headquarters of the group located in Taito ward in Tokyo, in connection with their investigation over the homemade rocket launched at a condominium in Kawaguchi City in October 2014. That incident targeted a corporate contractor involved with the controversial US base relocation in Henoko, Okinawa. Police seized 51 items, including computers, SD cards and mobile phones, but no arrests were made.

kakurokyo police raid trump visit

The group is alleged to have set up a rocket-launching timer device near Yokota Air Base in 2009 immediately prior to the visit of President Obama. As such, police raided Sekisaisha and other locations as part of its increased security efforts in preparation for Trump’s arrival, which Kakurōkyō had openly denounced in its organ. Such raids are heavily orchestrated, however, with the press informed in advance so that they can be present to capture the police entering the buildings. This helps create a media image of the remnants of Japan’s New Left movement as dangerous and anti-social.

The “non-mainstream” (Kimoto-ha or Yamashige-ha) faction of Kakurōkyō is arguably the only far-left group in Japan still committed to armed struggle, at least to some degree, and is suspected of carrying out previous projectile attacks on Yokota Air Base in 2013 and Camp Zama in 2015. The incidents resulted in no casualties or serious damage. Responsibility was claimed by a group calling itself the Revolutionary Army, though police have identified this as a paramilitary cell within the non-mainstream Kakurōkyō. The Kimoto-ha faction is alleged of several such small mortar attacks against United States military facilities over the past two decades. The struggle against the US-Japan security alliance and the presence of American military bases in Japan, especially in Okinawa, remains a key campaign for the group. In an effort to prevent it from carrying out further attacks, police maintain pressure, including regular searches and arrests, including the arrest of a prominent activist earlier this year over the 2013 Yokota Air Base incident.

WILLIAM ANDREWS

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