Neo-fascist ringleader admits attacking leftists, cult

Mainichi Shimbun/April 29, 2004

Ichiro Murakami, the leader of a neo-fascist samurai sword appreciation society, has pleaded guilty to a series of charges, including violent attacks on pro-Pyongyang Koreans and the AUM Shinrikyo death cult.

Murakami, 55, entered the guilty plea at the opening of his Tokyo District Court trial for a series of alleged crimes including blackmail and firearms control law violations.

The court also heard that Murakami had deliberately gone out to attack high profile targets to gain publicity for his ultra right-wing beliefs, then boasted about his bravado to members of his club.

Prosecutors said Murakami formed his samurai sword appreciation society in about 1995, then used it to launch an arson attack on the Fukui Prefecture branch of Chosen Soren, the organization of ethnic Koreans in Japan who support North Korea's hermetic communist regime. The attack, prosecutors said, was a reprisal for Pyongyang's kidnapping of Japanese citizens.

However, when response to the attack was muffled, prosecutors said Murakami escalated his campaign of terror, forming a new group trained in the use of firearms and targeting AUM Shinrikyo, the group that unleashed the lethal 1995 gassing of the Tokyo subway system.

Murakami's group was also responsible for threats and shootings directed at prominent politicians, including former top Liberal Democratic Party stalwarts Hiromu Nonaka and Koichi Kato.

Murakami is one of 15 charged in connection with the attacks.

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