|(1) A (second) extension for the surveillance period decided. Aum Shinrikyo still maintains its dangerous nature.
]The Public Security Examination Commission points out that the cult's inclination towards Asahara has become stronger. The commission adds profit making businesses as the new item the cult has to report.
]The cult still maintains a dangerous nature as seen by the fact that it still worships Asahara, and also keeps the number of the facilities and the organization members.
Aum Shinrikyo (the cult), which committed heinous crimes including sarin nerve gas attacks in Matsumoto and on the Tokyo subway system, had kept its dangerous nature by having absolute faith in Asahara and his dogma and by being under Asahara's influence even after he was arrested. The Public Security Examination Commission therefore decided to put the cult under the surveillance of the Director-General of the Public Security Intelligence Agency (the Agency) in January 2000 based on the Act Regarding the Control of Organizations that Committed Indiscriminate Mass Murder (organization control law). The term for the surveillance was extended in January 2003 (the first extension). During this period, the Agency practiced surveillance activities such as on-site inspections, but the nature of the cult did not change even after January 2004. It is acknowledged that the cult still has a dangerous nature, capable of committing indiscriminate mass murder as seen by the facts that the group continued to publish training materials including Asahara's dangerous teachings, the members learned them, and emphasized their faith in Asahara. The Agency therefore requested a second extension for the period of surveillance in November 2005. The Public Security Examination Commission acknowledged, as was reported by the survey of the Agency, that “the cult's inclination towards Asahara and his teachings became stronger than the time of the first extension of surveillance,” and pointed out that “it is acknowledged that the cult has a dangerous nature, capable of committing indiscriminate mass murder” and that “the cult has a closed nature separate from the general public and it is hard to say that the deceptive nature of the group has been improved.” The Commission therefore extended the term of surveillance for another three years on January 23 (expires on January 31, 2009). In addition, as it was revealed that the cult's members gained large profit by conducting illegal acts as an important financial source, the Commission decided, as was requested by the Agency, to add as a new item to be reported by the cult the outline of profit making businesses and the location where the account books of each business are kept.
The Public Security Intelligence Agency conducted on-site inspections at a total of 64 facilities of Aum Shinrikyo in 17 prefectures during the period between January and the end of November. During 2006, the agency also received four reports from Aum Shinrikyo on their activities, which the group is required to submit on a quarterly basis. Due to the addition of the outline of profit making businesses as an item to be reported, the existence of new profit making business has been revealed.
In accordance with Article 32 of the organization control law, the Agency provided 15 municipal governments in three prefectures with a total of 46 reports on Aum Shinrikyo during the period between January and the end of November. Those 46 reports include the submitted reports from the group and results of the Agency's investigations on the group's facilities.
|Dec. 1999||The Act Regarding the Control of Organizations that Committed Indiscriminate Mass Murder (organization control law) was enacted. The Public Security Intelligence Agency (the Agency) requested surveillance.|
|Jan. 2000||The Public Security Examination Commission (the Commission) decided to conduct surveillance.|
|Dec. 2002||The Agency requested an extension for the period of surveillance.|
|Jan. 2003||The Commission decided to extend the period of surveillance.|
|Nov. 2005||The Agency requested a second extension for the period of surveillance.|
|Jan. 2006||The Commission decided to extend the period of surveillance for the second time.|
Aum Shinrikyo has about 1,650 members in Japan (about 650 live-in cult members and about 1,000 lay members) and about 300 members in Russia (about 50 live-in cult members and about 250 lay members). Among Japanese members, about 90% of the live-in cult members and about 70% of the lay members had joined the cult before the 1995 sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, so the group is still considered to have many members who are strongly influenced by Asahara. In addition, the cult has absolute faith in Asahara and his teachings, keeps the organizational structure and training system from before the attack, has members who still justify the attack, and thus has a dangerous nature. Furthermore, Aum Shinrikyo holds yoga lessons and astrology fortune-telling services with the cult's name hidden in major cities around the country, puts advertisements in regional information magazines, uses public facilities as the venue for its activities, and tactfully continues recruiting members.
As of November, the cult has 29 facilities in 16 prefectures. While conflicts with local residents have deepened from repeating dishonest attitudes towards the residents, a series of incidents happened where the cult was asked to leave facilities which it rented from landlords by concealing its identity, or the group was refused renewal contracts at the time of expiration and forced to leave. However, the group took measures to keep its facilities by methods such as purchasing used condominiums.
The cult raised funds of more than 120 million yen in total by giving expensive initiations in its intensive seminars held three times annually (at the beginning and the end of each year, during the Golden Week holiday season in May, and in the summer). Coupled with its secretive nature, such as uncooperative attitudes at the time of on-site inspections, the entire picture of the financial situation of the cult is still unknown.
|(2) Asahara's death sentence finalized, but no change in the member's faith in Asahara. As the reality of execution sets in, the possibility of illegal cases arises.
]The Supreme Court rejects the special appeal, Asahara's death sentence finalized.
]The Public Security Intelligence Agency reinforces investigation and surveillance including nationwide on-site inspections.
Regarding the criminal trial of Asahara, who was sentenced to death in the first trial for masterminding murders and other crimes, in all thirteen criminal cases he was indicted, including two sarin nerve gas attacks at Matsumoto and on the Tokyo subway system, Asahara's defense lawyers had declined to submit documents necessary for filing an appeal with the Tokyo High Court, arguing that Asahara was incompetent to stand trial and that they could not establish meaningful communication with him. On March 27, the Tokyo High Court judged that Asahara has the competency to stand trial and rejected the appeal due to the absence of the statement of the reason for appeal. The lawyers filed an objection to the Tokyo High Court, and when it was rejected, filed a special appeal to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court rejected the special appeal on September 15, which finalized capital punishment of Asahara eleven years after the start of the first trial.
|Nov. 4, 1989||Slayings of anti-Aum lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto and his family|
|Jun. 27, 1994||Matsumoto sarin attack occurred|
|Mar. 20, 1995||Sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system occurred|
|May 16, 1995||Shoko Asahara was arrested|
|Apr. 24, 1996||The first trial hearing was held at the Tokyo District Court|
|Feb. 16, 2004||(The Public Security Intelligence Agency conducted on-site inspections of Aum Shinrikyo throughout Japan.)|
|Feb. 27, 2004||The Tokyo District Court passed the death sentence|
|Feb. 27, 2004||The defense team for Shoko Asahara filed an appeal to the Tokyo High Court|
|Mar. 27, 2006||The Tokyo High Court decided to reject the appeal|
|Mar. 30, 2006||The defense team for Shoko Asahara filed an objection to the Tokyo High Court|
|Apr. 18, 2006||(The Agency conducted on-site inspections of Aum Shinrikyo throughout Japan.)|
|May 29, 2006||The Tokyo High Court decided to reject the objection|
|Jun. 5, 2006||The defense team for Shoko Asahara filed a special appeal to the Supreme Court|
|Sep. 15, 2006||The Supreme Court decided to reject the special appeal. Death sentence confirmed.|
|Sep. 16, 2006||(The Agency conducted on-site inspections of Aum Shinrikyo throughout Japan.)|
After the decision on the rejection of appeal for Asahara, the Agency established on March 30 “the special investigation headquarters related to the Asahara trial” and reinforced its preparedness for investigation and surveillance. As a part of the activities, the Agency conducted simultaneous on-site inspections on April 18 at 11 facilities of the cult located in 9 prefectures and on September 16, the day following the confirmation of Asahara's death sentence, at 25 facilities in 16 prefectures, and thus made efforts to prevent the cult from causing illegal cases and to remove people's anxiety.
Among them, with the on-site inspections conducted on the day following the confirmation of Asahara's death sentence, “Seitaishi” Fumihiro Joyu answered the question of the Public Security Intelligence Agency official and suggested the possibility of incidents threatening the peace and order, saying that “the group is worried about some members committing suicides immediately after the death of Asahara or behaving imprudently.” In addition, an unrepentant attitude toward the cult's atrocious crime is still seen in its senior members' manner of using language to hurt the families of the victims of the sarin nerve gas attack.
After confirmation of Asahara's death sentence, with the acknowledgement and expectation that the execution of Asahara would be years later for the reasons of pending criminal trials of accomplices and of the possibility of petition for retrial, the cult guided the members to pray for Asahara's survival and life prolongation and to strengthen their faith in Asahara. In addition, its executive board published a document to ask members to refrain from illegal acts.
Within the cult group, the members' remarks to rescue Asahara before his execution were noticed after the decision on the dismissal of appeal. Even after the finalization of the death sentence, it was confirmed that some members expect a miracle of the decision being reversed and other members hint of committing cluster suicide when Asahara is executed. Some members deify Asahara and say that they would keep the faith in Asahara even after his death. Some leaders express their expectations for Asahara's family by saying that, “the only possible way is to reorganize the group by placing children descended from guru Asahara at its core.” Thus, the cult still has an absolute faith in Asahara and there is no change in the dangerous nature of the cult.
Under the circumstances that the execution of Asahara has become realistic as the result of the finalized death penalty, it is concerned that illegal cases could occur by cult members who blindly believe in Asahara in an attempt to rescue him.
Since the end of 2004, the cult has had a conflict of opinions between the Joyu group, which promotes the line of “hiding the influence of Asahara” to survive and expand its power with the aim of evading surveillance by pretending to sweep away Asahara's influence officially, and the anti-Joyu group led by mainly “Seigoshi” Tatsuko Muraoka and “Seigoshi” Koichi Ninomiya which emphasizes absolute faith in Asahara by insisting that “hiding the influence of Asahara” cannot be accepted even for the existence of the cult. In this situation, the Joyu group excluded the anti-Joyu group from Osaka Facility at the end of November 2005. As a countermeasure, the anti-Joyu group secured another facility in Osaka city, and thus, branches and training halls of both groups were established within the same district. Furthermore, intensive seminars at the beginning and the end of year (from December 29, 2005 to January 3, 2006) were held separately, so the conflict has become apparent.
Joyu considered, from such a situation, that it was difficult to compromise with the anti-Joyu group and announced to the members in the middle of April that he intended to establish “a new organization” which adopted “independence from Asahara” before the finalization of Asahara's death penalty. Afterwards, both groups promoted the separation of facilities and finance, and in July each group finally came to reside separately in one of the two apartment buildings at Minami-Karasuyama facility, and the collection of donations and membership fees from the members and payment of expenses is done separately. Both groups tried to attract prominent members who can offer a large amount of donation to strengthen the power of the group and to secure funds.
With an eye to establishing “a new organization,” for illustrating their own originality, the Joyu group had a training session in the intensive seminar in the summer (from 12th to 15th of August) by making a pilgrimage to the shrines and temples Joyu selected as the “sacred places.” Afterwards, the Joyu group called the training at the “sacred places” nationwide as a “pilgrimage” and regularized the tour. The group tried to make Joyu's teaching which explains Buddhism and principles of yoga as official teaching material and promoted its effort to establish “a new organization.”
However, even within the Joyu group, not a few members have uneasiness towards the line of “hiding the influence of Asahara.” In addition, the group has an uncertain financial basis since few live-in cult members get income by working at ordinary companies. From these reasons, establishment of “a new organization” could not be realized before the confirmation of Asahara's death sentence. Although the Joyu group still aims at establishing “a new organization,” many factors such as the name and the dogma have not been settled and its future is unclear.
Around February, Muraoka, who had been in the center of criticism of Joyu, showed a compromising attitude and the group of the mid-ranking leaders opposed and strongly criticized “Seigoshi” leaders, including Muraoka excluding Ninomiya from trying to set up coexistence with the Joyu group. The mid-ranking leaders' group gave training to emphasize absolute faith in Asahara by comparing Asahara to Jesus Christ at each intensive seminar (during the Golden Week holiday season in May and in the summer) and study meeting. The group also requested Joyu, who announced establishment of “a new organization,” to resign his post as representative of the “Religious Organization Aleph,” and thus strengthened the confrontation with the Joyu group.
Although the Joyu group is emphasizing breaking away from Asahara as the idea for the establishment of “a new organization,” the method of “pilgrimage” mentioned above is just an imitation of Asahara's conventional method and teaching. In addition, when on-site inspections were made on the facilities of the Joyu group after the announcement of the “new organization” idea, it was confirmed that the actual situation was still the same with the anti-Joyu group, i.e. the altar peculiar to Aum Shinrikyo was established and many of Asahara's books were stored there. Furthermore, the Joyu group purchases from the anti-Joyu group and consumes foods and drinks called “offerings” that were kept for a certain period of time in a room where Asahara's incantation (mantra) is kept playing. Thus, the two groups still cooperate partially, and not only the anti-Joyu group but also the Joyu group still keep absolute faith in Asahara and Asahara's dogma.Facilities where on-the-spot inspections were carried out
|(1) The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups intensify the protests against Japan-U.S. agreement on the restructuring of U.S. forces in Japan.
]The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups push forward with activities to protest U.S. forces in Japan with the opposing residents of the municipalities with U.S. bases.
]The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups carry out efforts to oppose the construction of the replacement facility for the U.S. military Futenma Base, carrying the banner “stop by force.”
After the agreement of the Japanese and U.S. governments on the restructuring of U.S. forces in Japan in May, the Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups opposed it, saying “it is a heavy-handed decision that neglected the intention of related municipalities and residents” and energetically promoted the activity to “oppose the reorganization of U.S. forces and the strengthening of the U.S. military function in Japan.”
The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups paid attention to the fact that many of the leaders of the municipalities where the bases are located showed opposition to the restructuring of U.S. forces and promoted the requesting activities towards related municipalities with the local residents by declaring “the promotion of protest activities by municipalities and residents together.” In particular, when Iwakuni City of Yamaguchi Prefecture held in March a local referendum on whether to accept the U.S. carrier-based aircraft unit, the Japanese Communist Party mobilized many campaigners to support the activities of the resident group that opposed the acceptance. Being encouraged by the result that dissenting votes occupied about 90% in the referendum, the Japanese Communist Party announced to “voluntarily support” the incumbent city mayor, who opposed the acceptance, in the Iwakuni City mayoral election that would be held in the following April. After the Japan-U.S. agreement on the restructuring of U.S. forces in Japan, Kazuo Shii, Executive Committee Chairman of the Japanese Communist Party, visited in July the municipality leaders in Hiroshima and Yamaguchi Prefectures who were against the restructuring plan and strongly publicized the “collaboration with the municipalities.”
In the latter half of the year, many of the leaders of the related municipalities changed their attitude to accept the restructuring plan, one after another. The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups developed the activities to ask the leaders to “retract their acceptance,” and, in cooperation with the local resident groups, had meetings, demonstrations, and signature campaigns against the restructuring plan.
Over the issue of the construction of the replacement facility for the U.S. military Futenma Base, which was the biggest focal point of the restructuring of U.S. forces in Japan, regarding the construction plan at Henoko bay of Nago City described in the restructuring plan, the Japanese government and the U.S. government agreed, the Mayor of Nago City expressed in the prior consultation with the government in April acceptance of the plan, and the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture signed an agreement with the government, the “Basic Confirmation on the U.S. Forces in Okinawa” in May. The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups strongly opposed these decisions stating that “the acceptance of the Mayor of Nago City is to break his campaign promise” and that “the attitude of the Governor is a betrayal for Okinawans.”
While practicing a sit-in at the site of Henoko in Nago City following on from 2005 in cooperation with the Okinawan residents against the plan, the Japanese Communist Party assumed the research that the Nago City Board of Education conducted on the buried cultural assets (September) at the site where the Replacement Facility is planned to be “the research for the construction of the base” and the Patriot missile deployment at Kadena Air Force Base (from September to October) to be “reinforcement of the U.S. military function,” and practiced protest activities with the Okinawan residents and obstructed the research on cultural assets and the transportation of missiles.
During Okinawa's gubernatorial election campaign in November, the Japanese Communist Party allied with other opposition parties to support Keiko Itokazu (former Upper House member) who declared to “protest the reinforcement of the military function and the construction of a new base in the prefecture” and promoted support activities. The “Chukaku-ha” extremist group also called for support for Itokazu. The election was practically a one-on-one fight between Itokazu and the candidate backed by both the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komei Party, and Itokazu lost the election.
The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups criticized the plan to deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka as “to semi-permanently fix the U.S. base,” considering it as part of restructuring of the U.S. forces in Japan, and had protest activities. The Japanese Communist Party in particular complained that “if only once a nuclear reactor accident happened, the damage would extend to the metropolis,” and tried to increase the momentum of protest by holding protest meetings in July collecting 10,000 people from Kanagawa, Tokyo, and Chiba. Furthermore, when a group of local residents proposed in September a signature campaign aiming at the formulation of regulation for a local referendum to ask about the pros and cons for the plan to deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to a naval base, the Party promoted cooperation by mobilizing groups of the public.
The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups do not take the “defeat” in the Okinawan gubernatorial election as something “to tolerate the construction of a new base” and keep their confrontational attitude. They are expected to be engaged also in 2007 in the activities “to oppose the realignment of U.S. forces and the strengthening of the U.S. military function” in various places including Iwakuni and Yokosuka Cities by placing the protest activity against the construction of a base in Okinawa at its core. They are expected, for the time being, to promote the protest activities drawing the residents around the base into their groups when the U.S. jet fighter drill in Okinawa is transferred to the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) base. The activity to hinder the operation of transfer is also a concern.
|(2) The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups exercise anti-war and anti-nuclear movements taking up the deployment of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in Iraq and North Korea's nuclear test.
]Even after the withdrawal of Ground SDF from Iraq, the Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups continue protest activities insisting on the withdrawal of Air SDF.
]While promoting the movement for nuclear disarmament in cooperation with overseas groups, the Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups strongly rebel against North Korea's nuclear test.
Following 2005, the Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups made efforts to protest the deployment of SDF in Iraq based on the special legislation for Japan's aid in the reconstruction of postwar Iraq. Especially, they regarded the organization of the ninth reconstruction assistance troops (January to February) at Nerima Base in Tokyo and of the tenth troops (May) at Somagahara Base in Gunma as “to make the security troops for the metropolis experience a battlefield,” and held protest meetings and demonstrations with local citizens' groups around the respective bases and proposed to the Defense Agency to “suspend the dispatches.” On the occasion of the third anniversary of the Iraq War in March, the Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups held protest meetings and demonstrations in about 50 locations nationwide and called for “the protest against the dispatch, and the immediate withdrawal of SDF from Iraq,” together with trying to arouse the protest activities by taking up the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan and the issue of the amendment to the Constitution of Japan.
The cabinet announced in June to continue the transportation activity in Iraq and to expand the scope of activities of Air SDF for Iraq while it decided to withdraw Ground SDF from Iraq, and the Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups developed activities to criticize it as to “enter into the real combat.” Radical leftist groups in particular regarded the Japan-U.S. summit talks held in the U.S. in June as “the occasion to inform the expansion of the activities of Air SDF” and had conducted protest activity to “stop Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to the U.S.”
Even after July when the withdrawal of Ground SDF from Iraq was completed, on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the U.S. in September and for the issue of the extension of the period of Air SDF dispatch in December, the Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups had protest activities in various places to request “the withdrawal of SDF and the prevention of extension of the period of dispatch.”
The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups regarded 2006 as the year to further enhance the international coalition for the abolition of nuclear weapons cultivated by the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings (2005), and promoted nuclear disarmament activities by emphasizing cooperation and exchanges with overseas groups and the gathering of young people. Among them, the Japan Council against A & H Bombs, a communist body, sent a delegation of about 150 people to the first “World Peace Forum” held in Canada in June (attended by about 3,000 people from about 100 countries by the announcement of the sponsor). During the Forum, the Council held “International Youth Rally” as its original project for the purpose of “inheriting the experience of the A-bomb victims,” and exchanged opinions with NGO activists from various countries on activities towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. Furthermore, for the World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs held in Japan in August, the Council invited 70 overseas representatives from 21 countries including the government representatives of countries that do not have nuclear weapons. In the Conference, the resolution was adopted to request the United Nations and all its member nations to start negotiations towards an international treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Regarding the issue of nuclear development in North Korea and Iran, while the Council asserted that “any kind of development and holding of nuclear weapons cannot be approved,” it pointed out that “the reasons are the pressure caused by the nuclear preemptive attack strategy of the U.S. and Japan's attitude to follow the footsteps of the U.S.” and aimed at their attack at both the Japanese and U.S. governments.
In addition, the “Chukaku-ha” extremist group had customary anti-war and anti-nuclear activities in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, inviting the representative of a Korean group of atomic bomb victims and Iraqi doctors, and called out to “develop international coalition to abandon nuclear and war.”
After North Korea's announcement in October that it had a nuclear test, the Japan Council against A & H Bombs had campaigns on the street in various regions to criticize North Korea by stating that it was “a reckless attempt against the international community” and had protest activities in Hiroshima with a group of atomic bomb victims. The Council also criticized that, regarding the U.N. Security Council's North Korea sanctions resolution, the cabinet and the ruling party of Japan were discussing military measures such as putting the Law Concerning Measures to Ensure the Peace and Security of Japan in Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan into effect and that it was “a policy which may ruin peaceful diplomatic solution.”
As for radical leftist groups, while asserting that North Korea's nuclear test can never be accepted” in their bulletins, the “Chukaku-ha” extremist group criticized that “Japan's Imperialism is the source of the crisis of war related to the nuclear test” and the “Kakumaru-ha” extremist group criticized that “both the Japanese and U.S. governments are promoting the building of a system to permit war by using North Korea's nuclear test as an excuse.”
Continuing the activities to call for the withdrawal of Air SDF from Iraq, the Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups are expected in 2007 to have the activities to protest and request the government on the occasions of the movements of establishing a permanent law for overseas SDF deployment or of the issue on how to interpret the right of collective self-defense. They are also expected, for uplifting the nuclear abolition movement, to make efforts to appeal to the governments of non-nuclear-weapon states and to collaborate with overseas anti-nuclear and peace organizations and to criticize the Japanese and U.S. governments' attitude towards nuclear issues.
|(3) The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups criticize the government regarding important bills such as the national referendum, the amendment of the Fundamental Law of Education and the newly established “conspiracy offense.”
]The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups seriously take the national referendum bill as to directly connect with the amendment of the Constitution.
]The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups criticize that the aim of the amendment of the Fundamental Law of Education is to create the nation that conducts war.
]To prevent the “conspiracy offense” bill, the Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups emphasize the “danger” of the bill.
The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups criticized that the submission to the Diet of the national referendum bill to decide the process of amendment of the Constitution would lead to the amendment of the Constitution and developed various anti-amendment activities.
In its 24th Party Congress (January), the Japanese Communist Party showed its strong resolution that “the fight for the Constitution is a historical struggle to decide the fate of Japan in the 21st century” and that “for collecting the majority of the nation, the Party should fight with all its power by staking its raison d'etre,” and emphasized that the immediate issue is the protest activity against the national referendum bill. On this basis, the Party supported the “Article 9 Association,” which appeals for the protection of Article 9 of the Constitution, and tried to enhance the collaboration with the “Cooperative Center against Constitutional Revision,” which was organized mainly by labor unions. The Party proposed a party leaders' meeting to the Social Democratic Party for joint struggle against the amendment of the Constitution, and Kazuo Shii, the Party leader, exchanged opinions with Fukushima, the leader of the Social Democratic Party (March). Following on from 2005, the Party put a full-page advertisement in Asahi newspaper on Constitution Day and called on the people to gather for the anti-amendment activities. Regarding the national referendum bills submitted in May by the ruling coalition of LDP and Komei Party and by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), respectively, the Party strongly opposed that “the bills directly lead to the amendment of Article 9 of the Constitution” and promoted criticizing activities to appeal for the withdrawal of the bills. Furthermore, at the time of the 60th anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution (November), the Party again protested the amendment by saying that “Article 9 is a treasure of the Japanese people and a common asset of all Asia.”
In addition to participating in the meetings to protest against the amendment of the Constitution on Constitution Day, radical leftist groups distributed flyers and had propaganda activities at the gatherings and study meetings held by citizens' groups. A Chukaku-ha-affiliated group “Block the Road to War! - One Million Signature Campaign” in particular started a new signature campaign, raising the slogans “Don't change Article 9” and “Say no to worsening the Constitution for conducting wars” (May).
The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups developed various activities to prevent the bill to amend the Fundamental Law of Education since it was submitted for the first time for deliberation in the Diet.
The Japanese Communist Party asserted that the amendment is “aiming at creating the nation that follows the government's policy to conduct war overseas,” established the “headquarters to battle against the change of the Fundamental Law of Education” (May) and started full-scale activity. During an ordinary Diet session, Kazuo Shii, the Party leader, pointed out and questioned the “problems” of the bill and the members of the Party participated in various meetings, and thus attempted to stimulate protest activities. During an extraordinary Diet session, the leader, Shii, made a speech to ask for a coalition at “October 14 Meeting” held mainly by teachers' union (about 27,000 participants by the announcement of the sponsor). In the Diet session, the Party asked for thoroughgoing deliberation on the issues such as bullying, failure to teach compulsory subjects, and “planted questions” in town meetings. When the bill passed the Diet, the Party criticized it as “historical tyranny” and rejected the attendance to the deliberation in the Upper House in cooperation with other opposition parties.
Radical leftist groups promoted protest activities to prevent the amendment, criticizing that “the revision will generalize patriotic education intended to pledge loyalty to the state and to praise war.” Among them, the “Chukaku-ha” extremist group practiced sit-ins, campaigns on the street, and a demonstration during the Diet session, in addition to its member's participation in a “nationwide meeting” of a nonpartisan group. Against the bill's passing the Diet, the group insisted that “we should make a counter-attack of anger” and called for the gathering to the protest activities.
The Japanese Communist Party insisted that the “conspiracy offense” bill with an eye to the ratification of the “Treaty to Prevent International Organizational Crimes” is “an oppressive law to control thoughts of people” just like the Peace Prevention Law and strongly opposed its enactment. During an ordinary Diet session, the members of the Party attended various meetings and stressed the “danger” of the conspiracy offense bill, and proposed preventing the passing of the bill by the joint struggle of opposition parties, and made efforts to arouse public opinion to oppose the bill. Later, aiming at preventing the deliberation at an extraordinary Diet session, the Party called for enhancement of the effort for the withdrawal of the bill stating that, “the grounds for the government's argument has collapsed since it has become clear that new legislation is not necessary for the ratification of the treaty.”
Radical leftist groups asserted the bill to be “the modern version of the Peace Preservation Law” and promoted their prevention struggle. Especially the Chukaku-ha-related group “Joint Activities against the Anti-subversive Activities Law and Anti-Organizational Crime Law” practiced, in addition to a signature campaign, meetings and campaigns on the street one after another with members of judicial circles and journalists who are against the “conspiracy offense” bill and tried to agitate public opinion towards the rejection of the bill.
The Japanese Communist Party and radical leftist groups are considered to continue strengthening the protest activities placing the prevention of the amendment of the Constitution as their most important issue and paying attention to the movement on the establishment of the national referendum law.
|(4) Radical leftist groups make efforts to enhance organizational basis, controlling internal conflicts.
]Having uncertain factors, three major groups work on laborers and citizens.
]The Movement for Democratic Socialism (MDS) promotes the activities focusing on infiltration into citizenry and expansion of power.
Under the policy of “New Guidelines” to emphasize labor movements, the “Chukaku-ha” extremist group carried out the activities to oppose “the national flag and national anthem” and to prevent the amendments to the Constitution and to the Fundamental Law of Education from the beginning of the year in Tokyo, Osaka, and other places, and worked on the civic groups and labor unions that support these activities. Under the circumstances, the group mentioned in political meetings in August (Tokyo, Hyogo) the internal conflict that occurred in March in its group in the Kansai area and announced that there was an organizational confusion and showed an attitude to completely reform the leadership personnel to construct an organization that focuses on laborers. Later, having smoldering unrest within the group, the center of the group concentrated its effort to infiltrate in “Four Major Unions by industry” (teachers unions, national railway workers' unions, prefectural and municipal workers' unions, post unions), that had been positioned as an important issue, and practiced propaganda activities near the sites of regular conventions of these unions.
However, the number of the participants in the “Nationwide Laborers' Rally” (Tokyo) held in November at the conclusion of the activities of the whole year was limited to about 2,500 (it was about 2,700 in 2005), which indicated that its organizational confusion still remains.
Regarding the issue of northbound extension of the provisional parallel runway of Narita Airport, the group regarded 2006, which is the 40th anniversary of the opposing alliance, as “the year of decisive struggle to prevent the start of the construction,” and demanded to “absolutely stop the extension” in the nationwide summer meeting held in July for the first time in five years hosted by Kitahara group of opposition alliance. When the construction started in September, the “Chukaku-ha” extremist group had an emergency protest meeting and demonstration at the site. Furthermore, the group strongly called for the participation of the laborers in the nationwide meeting in October stating, “to show the determination of laborers, farmers, and students to impeach the extension.” As a result of these activities, the group mobilized more people than in 2005, and the Anti-Narita Struggle had a certain upsurge.
The group is expected to maintain its line of armed fights in the future and to make efforts to expand and strengthen the organization aiming at the “establishment of the laborers' party” based on “the new leadership line.”
Through its various activities such as opposing the amendment of the Constitution and the division and privatization of the postal services, the “Kakumaru-ha” extremist group made efforts to appeal to the labor unions of basic industries and citizens. After the death in June of its founder, Hirokazu Kuroda (78), former Chairman, the group appealed to succeed the “Kuroda theory,” “we succeed the revolutionary communism that comrade Kuroda advocated,” and tried to tighten the bond of the members. The group held a political meeting in October in Tokyo by the name of “the memorial ceremony for comrade Hirokazu Kuroda,” admired his achievements, and called for the solidarity of the group.
The group criticized the column published in a weekly magazine regarding the infiltration of “Kakumaru-ha” into the Japan Confederation of Railway Workers' Union and East Japan Railway Workers' Union as “mean, false publicity that calls Kakumaru-ha a eterrorist group'” and stated, “we will crush this frameup attack by all means.” Meanwhile, a former executive union member of East Japan Railway Workers' Union publicized for the first time the existence of “Kakumaru-ha” within the union in September and October.
The group is expected to tighten the organization by succeeding the revolutionary theory advocated by the former leader Kuroda and to make efforts to upsurge a mass movement, such as anti-amendment of the Constitution, and to expand its power in the labor front.
The mainstream factions and anti-mainstream factions of the “Kaiho-ha” group of the Revolutionary Workers Association worked on the rebuilding and enforcement of its impoverished organization while maintaining its line of armed fights. The anti-mainstream factions, in particular, transferred to clandestine leadership when its top leader, Shigeki Yamada, disappeared in March from its base office immediately after the suspicious death of one of the leaders. Later, the group held a meeting of All-Japan Federation of Students' Self-Governing Associations for the first time after the group's split and started to enhance its students' front. In addition, the group published “Appeal by the Revolutionary Army” to ask for volunteering for the revolutionary army.
Aiming at “preventing the government from its line advancing towards war,” MDS, which calls for realization of a socialist society, put a lot of work into a movement to formulate regulations on the “declaration for non-defended localities” based on the Geneva Convention supplementary protocol, and organized groups of citizens from five municipalities including Ota Ward of Tokyo and worked on a signature campaign for direct petition for formulating city ordinances. Furthermore, in a meeting of the representatives from these municipalities held in August, MDS came out with the policy to expand the movement to 100 municipalities and practiced afterwards a signature campaign in four municipalities including Meguro Ward of Tokyo and Sakai City of Osaka.
In addition, MDS held support meetings to invite representatives of an anti-U.S. non-Islamic force in Iraq and photograph exhibitions introducing the situation of child victims in Iraq, and called for support for the group's activities to the citizens that participated and asked for donations for the establishment of a satellite TV station that the group is planning.
MDS is enlarging its power, mainly among the citizens, by focusing on the “declaration for non-defended localities” and the support for an anti-U.S. non-Islamic force.
|(5) JCP infiltrates people criticizing LDP or supporting no parties
]24th Congress of the Party; Impression of leaders rejuvenated.
]Paints the party as “a reliable opposition party” and publicizes its focus on Asia.
The Japanese Communist Party (JCP) held the 24th Congress in January to prepare to infiltrate into those people criticizing the LDP and those not supporting any political party, with an eye to the nationwide local elections and the Upper House election in 2007. In the Congress, Tetsuzo Fuwa, Central Committee Chairman, retired for the reason of his age (76). The Congress decided not to have a succeeding Central Committee Chairman and to position Kazuo Shii (52), Executive Committee Chairman, as the top of the Party. Like the revisions of the Constitution of JCP (2000) and the JCP Program (2004), the new personnel seems to aim at giving an impression of a “New Japanese Communist Party,” but Fuwa is considered to have the same influence since he remained in the leadership as a committee member of the Standing Executive Committee.
The JCP made criticism that the relationship between the LDP and the DPJ is “a de facto coalition.” As the Party's course of action, for playing the role of “a reliable opposition party,” the JCP proposed the policy 1) to confront the LDP's policy and 2) to promote diplomacy as an opposition party, in addition to deciding to enhance the Party's strength.
In an ordinary Diet session, the JCP condemned the government that it would “destroy the peace and the life of the nation” by the focal issues of the national referendum bill, the bill related to the reform of medical system, and the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan. The Party regards the new administration that started in September as a “dangerous hawkish administration” and shows its confrontational posture. Since the new administration put the priority on the bill to amend the Fundamental Law of Education, the JCP collaborated with the DPJ in an extraordinary Diet session and tried to prevent the passing of the bill by setting aside the fact that the Party had criticized the DPJ as “right-wing.”
On the contrary, the Party made efforts to criticize the DPJ and emphasized, “the DPJ's stance on the basic national policy is the same as that of the LDP” and insisted that the DPJ cannot be the opposition axis against the LDP. Furthermore, regarding the collaboration of opposition parties in the Upper House election that the DPJ had proposed, the JCP declined. In the second assembly of the Central Committee in July, the Party decided to field its candidate in every constituency and confirmed to paint itself as “a reliable opposition party.”
As for international exchanges, the JCP tried to illustrate the Party's distinction to the government and diplomatic ability by making close relationships with Asian countries. Tetsuzo Fuwa, the former Central Committee Chairman, visited China in May at the invitation of the Chinese Communist Party and had a meeting on Marxism and theory as the second one between the Communist Parties of Japan and China. He also gave a lecture at the Chinese Academy of Social Science. The JCP invited representatives from the Marxism Research Center and had a meeting on theory with the representatives. The JCP considers that these exchanges between the two Communist Parties are “based on a relationship of mutual trust” (Fuwa's statement made at the second meeting on Marxism) and showed off its close relationship with China.
On the other hand, Shii, the leader, visited Korea and Pakistan in succession in September. The visit to Korea was the first visit by a leader of the JCP, and he attended the International Conference of Asian Political Parties. Through the meeting with Lim Chae-Jung, National Assembly Speaker, and that with the representatives from five ruling and opposition parties, Shii emphasized that the Japanese Communist Party has the same viewpoint with Korea on the issue of historical perceptions. In the visit to Pakistan, which was realized by an invitation from the Pakistani government, Shii had meetings with government officials including Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and asked for their understanding on the JCP by preaching the co-existence of Islam and Communism. The JCP evaluated the series of these exchange activities, saying “mutual understanding could establish friendly relations” (statement by Shii at the meeting to report on his visit to Korea and Pakistan).
For the improvement of organizational strength, the JCP set a goal of “500,000 members and a circulation of 2.3 million copies of the Akahata by April 2007 when the nationwide local elections would be held. The JCP also endeavored in full power to enhance the Party's strength by making the members well aware that improvement of organizational strength is important not only for the breakthrough in elections but also for the stability of the Party's finances, and summoned the people in charge at local offices to the center and held meetings in various regions by dispatching the leader from the central office. Nonetheless, due to the weakening vitality of aging members, the number of the Akahata circulation decreased to about 1.6 million and the number of the members remained unchanged (about 400,000) so the improvement of strength remained stagnant as a whole.
The JCP is prepared to work by collective effort on the activity to increase the support for the Party towards the nationwide local elections from the beginning of 2007. The JCP is expected to strengthen its criticism of the ruling coalition and the DPJ with the catch phrase of “a reliable opposition party” by valuing the Upper House election as “the national election to shift over to a real advancement.”
|(6) Japanese Red Army shifting focus on Palestine issue again ]Fusako Shigenobu insists Hamas administration is legitimate.
]Rebuilds joint struggle with PFLP.
The supreme leader of the Japanese Red Army is Fusako Shigenobu (The first trial: Tokyo District Court on February 23, sentenced to 20 years in prison. Both defense lawyers and the prosecutor sides filed for appeal) stated in her message to the meeting to support the Shigenobu trial held in February that she evaluated the Hamas administration born by the election held on January 25 by the Palestinian Authority Council as “a political power that brings about just peace in the region.” She also asserted that armed fights are “merely the sign of intention not to part with the tools to realize just peace as long as Israeli violence exists.” Later on, Shigenobu repeatedly called for “solidarity with Palestine” to cope with the situation in the journal in March, July, and September when the world's attention focused on the Middle East on the occasions of a detention of Ahamad Sa'dat, Secretary-General of the “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” (PFLP) by Israeli army, and the Israeli attack on Lebanon.
Under these circumstances, via the “Japan-Palestine Project Center” led by the activists of “Movement Solidarity”(“Solidarity”) the successor organization to the Japanese Red Army in regards to its public activities, the Japanese Red army dispatched its members to Palestine around August to collect information and tried to disseminate the Palestine situation by publishing the report from Palestine on its website.
Seven members of the Japanese Red Army are still at large. Among them, Kozo Okamoto is said to be residing in Beirut under the protection of Hezbollah.
In Japan, the supporters of the Japanese Red Army call the Lod Airport Massacre in Tel Aviv on May 30, 1972 as the “Rydda Struggle” and has had activities on the anniversary and held a meeting on the day in 2006 as well. The journal Newsletter Movement Solidarity, published for the anniversary, describes that the members of the Army went to Palestine and held “International Solidarity Meeting to Commemorate the “Rydda Struggle” with PFLP hanging the flag of the Japanese Red Army. It suggests that the Japanese Red Army, which had withdrawn from Palestine in accordance with the Oslo Accords (1993), has rebuilt the relationship of joint struggle with the PFLP.
Such movement shows that the dangerous nature of the Japanese Red Army has not changed. In addition, its movement in the future should be noted since there is the possibility that the Japanese Red Army, which advocates anti-U.S. stance in addition to “solidarity with Palestine,” could collaborate with various powers in the Middle East such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and PFLP that have carried out armed struggle to build a Palestine state.
|(7) Anti-globalization groups focus on exchanges with overseas groups and enhancement of the basis for their movements
]“6th World Social Forum” held at three locations around the world.
]Japanese groups emphasize collaboration with overseas groups that had joint anti-WTO actions.
Anti-globalization groups around the world held the “World Social Forum,” an annual event to get together and exchange experiences, separately in three locations in the world, aiming at the enhancement of local movements, in which about 130,000 people participated (the figure announced by the organizer). From Japan, ATTAC Japan, a group led by JRCL (former member of Fourth International), dispatched activists to the forums in Caracas, Venezuela and Karachi, Pakistan, and had exchanges with the groups from various countries in such circumstances as the seminar on the theme of “globalization of economy.”
The groups including ATTAC Japan criticized the “World Economic Forum on East Asia” held in Tokyo in June with the attendance of key government and business leaders, as “a conference to promote globalization that threatens people in Asia.” Competing with the conference, they invited representatives of Korean and Thai groups with whom they had joint activities when the 6th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was held in Hong Kong in December 2005, and held the symposium on “Asian problems and movements on globalism.” They also submitted to the Chairman of the World Economic Forum a letter of protest jointly signed by about 50 groups inside and outside Japan. Furthermore, they had exchanges and discussion meetings with the invited overseas representatives in Kyoto and other places and exchanged opinions on the influences that a free trade agreement in Asia might bring about.
Japanese anti-globalization groups including ATTAC Japan plan to dispatch activists to the “Seventh World Social Forum” to be held in January 2007 in Nairobi, Kenya and to exchange opinions with overseas groups on the theme of poverty in African countries. They are also expected to enhance collaboration with the groups in Korea and other countries regarding the negotiation on free trade agreements with Asian countries.
[What are the world's “anti-globalization groups”?]
“Anti-globalization groups” is the collective term for leftist groups, some radical labor unions, and citizen's groups in each country against the new liberal economic policy, asserting that the policy focused on trade liberalization promoted by developed countries and international institutions such as the WTO is the principal cause of economic disparities and disputes between the countries. These forces actively interact with each other by holding the “World Social Forum” to counter the “World Economic Forum” (common name: the Davos Forum) held every year, participated in by key government and business leaders of the world.
|Right-wing groups cause heinous crimes, focusing on diplomatic and territorial issues
]Protests against North Korea's missile launches, nuclear test and suspension of Japanese marine research around Takeshima.
]Arson attack on a house of a Diet member who opposed Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni.
Although the organizational power of right-wing groups has remained on the same level in the last several years, organized criminal groups are on the rise. In particular, the number of groups affiliated with “Yamaguchi-gumi,” a crime syndicate seeking to expanding its power into right-wing groups, has notably increased. Under this condition, many groups promoted their activities by focusing on the diplomatic and territorial issues the nation is particularly interested in while aiming at finding new sources of finance.
Regarding the North Korean issue, Japanese right-wing groups considered that there had been no concrete development on the issues of the abduction of Japanese nationals and nuclear development, and vigorously carried out activities from the beginning of the year to protest against Chongryon-related facilities and to call on government-related organs to impose economic sanctions.
In the trial for the lawsuit asking to nullify the exemption on Chongryon-affiliated Kumamoto Korean Hall, Fukuoka High Court ruled in February that “the facility is not eligible for preferential tax treatment since the hall does not benefit the Japanese public.” The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issued in April an instruction to reexamine tax exemptions on Chongryon-affiliated facilities. Taking the opportunity, Japanese right-wing groups had protesting and requesting activities to cancel exemptions in various regions nationwide.
Right-wing groups criticized the visit to North Korea by the delegation of mass media (23 companies) in April as “an act to trample upon the sentiments of the victims of the abductions and must not be accepted” and had protest movement against mass media companies that participated in the delegation.
When North Korean missiles were launched in July, all of the right-wing groups were enraged and stated that it was “a declaration of war against Japan and the U.S.” They forced into Chongryon-affiliated facilities in various regions by campaign trucks, and presented protesting letters stating, “the missile launching is an intimidation upon Japan and it can never be permitted.” Right-wing groups also promoted their activities to request governmental organizations for economic sanctions such as the ban on North Korean ships' entry into Japanese ports and prohibition against money transfer to North Korea. In addition, when North Korea exercised the nuclear test in October, they criticized it as “an outrageous and provocative behavior” and, like the time of missile launching, shouted around the Chongryon-affiliated facilities in various regions to appeal that “it was a barbarous act to deride international society. North Korea should abandon nuclear weapons immediately and apologize to the Japanese people.”
While tensions with North Korea were mounting, right-wing groups became highly sensitive to the attitude of North Korea and caused radical actions one after another. Among others, a person with a letter of protest addressed to the Prime Minister asking for economic sanctions severed his wrist in front of the Diet building (March); red paint was sprayed on the Foreign Ministry's front gate to criticize its diplomatic attitude towards North Korea (July); a threatening letter with a severed little finger was sent to Chongryon central headquarters (September); a campaign truck ran into a precision measuring instruments company that was suspected to have exported embargoed goods to North Korea (October).
Japanese right-wing groups called on Prime Minister Koizumi to formally visit Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary day of the end of WWII in August, which was one of the Prime Minister's campaign pledges. On the other hand, they energetically promoted protest activities against the people in political and business circles who criticized the visit as a diplomatic issue or who insisted on an idea to erect a new national memorial facility for those killed in war or to separately enshrine the WWII criminals convicted by a Tokyo international military tribunal (Class-A criminals). Furthermore, there was a protest to oppose the newspaper company that issued in July “a memo on Emperor Showa's remarks,” supposed to have criticized joint enshrinement of Class-A war criminals in Yasukuni, as “a stratagem to stop the Prime Minister's visit to the shrine.”
In the evening of the anniversary of the end of WWII, the day when Prime Minister Koizumi visited Yasukuni Shrine, a member of a right-wing group who was repelled by Koichi Kato, former secretary general of the LDP who had been opposing the visit, set fire to his parents' house located in Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture, which totally burned down the house and the connected office building. The man afterwards attempted suicide by disembowelment using a knife. Some right-wing groups took this arson as “a righteous deed” and held a nationwide meeting in Tokyo to praise and support it and the event had a certain surge (November). Such a brutal case by a right-wing group as an arson attack on the house of a Diet member had not occurred since 1963 when the house of Ichiro Kono, former Minister of Construction, was set on fire.
Right-wing groups insisted on Japan's ownership of Takeshima Island and had activities to criticize the attitude of the government of Korea that illegally occupies the island and that of the Japanese government. On February 22, the first anniversary of the formulation of “Takeshima Day” ordinance by Shimane Prefecture (March 2005), the groups attended “Takeshima Day Meeting” sponsored by the prefecture and also had activities to appeal for “recapture of Takeshima” in various regions such as Tokyo and Osaka. Regarding the suspension of marine research around Takeshima that was decided by the discussion between the governments of Japan and Korea (April), right-wing groups engaged in protest activities in various districts by insisting “Korean government should not complain about research that is legitimate by international law” and “Japanese government's decision on the suspension of the research, which is a legitimate right, is a diplomacy of disgrace.” Furthermore, Japanese right-wing groups promoted protests against Korean diplomatic establishments in Japan insisting on “immediate return of Takeshima” at the time of the negotiation in June between the two governments to decide exclusive economic zones that resumed after six years and when Korea conducted research on ocean current near Takeshima in July.
Right-wing groups considered the issue of the revision of the Imperial House Law “a serious problem which causes the collapse of the Imperial House which is the foundation of Japanese tradition and culture” and placed priority on the matter for their activities. A report was released on November 24, 2005 by “a private panel of advisors on imperial succession” (advisory panel), of which the gist was to allow females and their descendants to ascend the throne and to give the priority to the first child. Japanese right-wing groups opposed the report, repeating their assertion that “the lineage and tradition of an unbroken line of Emperors will be broken if a family member outside the male lineage is allowed to the throne.” To stop the submission of the draft revision of the Imperial House Law to the Diet, right-wing groups protested and made requests to the members of the advisory panel, Diet members, government and related organizations, insisting that “Revision of Imperial House Law needs careful discussions and we oppose rough-and-ready submission of the bill to revise the Law.” Although these movements gradually cooled down after the announcement of the pregnancy of Princess Kiko (February) and the birth of Prince Hisahito (September), right-wing groups are considered to continue watching the revision issue since most of the groups stick to the male-lineage tradition.”
While focusing on diplomatic matters such as the North Korean issues of nuclear tests and abduction of Japanese nationals, territorial issues and historical perceptions with China and Korea, Japanese right-wing groups are expected to continue their activities on domestic matters, paying attention to the revision of the Imperial House Law and seeking for the revision of the Constitution. Depending on the future attitude of North Korea, right-wing groups may take actions more extreme than before. Further attention therefore needs to be paid on their move.
(C)Copyright 1998-2006 Ministry of Justice.