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Police detect plan for terror attack by Japanese extremist group targeting G7 summit

  • May 4, 2016
  • , Sankei , p. 21
  • Translation

With less than a month to go until the Group of Seven (G7) summit (Ise-Shima Summit) is held from May 26 to 27, police detected an “alarming sign” in Tokyo – a plan for a “terrorist attack” by an extremist group. The upcoming summit meeting is being viewed as a security test for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Although the number of terrorist attacks by domestic extremist groups has decreased, security authorities are rushing to take counterterrorism measures in order to address the potential risks.

 

Plan for terrorist attack detected just in time

 

In February, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Public Security Bureau conducted simultaneous raids of an extremist group’s hideouts in Tokyo and adjacent prefectures. As a result, the police seized a large amount of what appeared to be components for making projectile bombs, as well as falsified license plates, copies of resident certificates, and credit cards under different names.

 

The extremist group in question is “Anti-Mainstream Faction of Revolutionary Workers’ Council” (“Kakurokyo Han-Shuryuha” in Japanese).” The police searched the strongholds of the “Revolutionary Army” (“Kakumeigun” in Japanese), Kakurokyo’s underground unit in charge of terrorist attacks. The police conducted the raids on suspicion of violation of the Firearms and Swords Possession Control Law in connection with a case in 2013 in which the group allegedly launched a projectile bomb toward the U.S. military’s Yokota Air Base in Tokyo.

 

The raids were different from those conducted in the past because the police analysis as a result of the raids indicated that “the group was about to conduct a terrorist attack,” according to an official connected to the investigations.

 

Before the raids, the Revolutionary Army had declared in its publication, “We will blow the summit to pieces.” An official connected to the investigations said: “If the group had continued preparing for the attack, it would have certainly been able to launch a projectile bomb.”

 

Following the raids, the group’s agitation calmed down. The public security bureau believes that the raids had a significant impact on the group. The follow-up investigation disclosed that the Revolutionary Army’s preparation for an attack was in full swing, including inspections of target facilities in advance.

 

Mortar fired at previous summit in Japan

 

The Ise-Shima Summit comes on the heels of a series of large-scale terrorist attacks in France last November and in Belgium this March. There are precedents for repeated terrorist attacks targeting G7 summit meetings overseas. Japan is no exception.

 

During the Tokyo Summit in 1986, a Japanese extremist group fired mortars toward the State Guest house. The mortars flew over the facility where the welcome ceremony was being conducted and landed on the street, causing no injuries.

 

“It was the most terrifying incident in my police career,” recalled a senior police official.

 

During the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit in 2000, an extremist group fired a metal projectile toward U.S. military’s Yokota Air Base. Although the incident caused no injuries, a senior police official said, “The mere fact that a terrorist attack was implemented undermines the public’s trust in security arrangements.” The official emphasized, “Prevention is extremely important.”

The number of terrorist attacks by domestic extremist groups has dropped significantly on account of police crackdowns and groups’ internal conflict. Some observers, however, suspect that the extremist groups have gone underground in preparation for organizational reconstruction. The police remain wary.

 

Various risks remain

 

During the 2005 Gleneagles Summit in the UK, simultaneous terrorist attacks took place in London far away from the summit venue, targeting the subway and other sites. The upcoming Ise-Shima Summit entails related ministerial meetings across Japan, so the event requires “multifaceted” security arrangements. Since many foreign embassies are concentrated in Tokyo, it “will certainly be the main battlefield,” said an MPD official.

 

“Besides potential terrorist attacks, there are various risks associated with a G7 summit,” warned a public security official. People opposed to the summit conducted rallies and demonstrations around the venue during the 2008 Hokkaido-Toyako Summit. In Tokyo, domestic extremist groups mobilized a large number of people to protest the summit. As a result, one activist was arrested for assaulting a police officer.

 

“A G7 summit is a good opportunity for various organizations to express their views or make their existence known to the public,” said a senior police official. “We will beef up security measures not only to crack down on domestic extremist groups but also to respond to various potential developments.”(Slightly abridged)

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