Sword group boss admits involvement in 23 attacks

Yomiuri Shimbun/December 23, 2003

The recently arrested chairman of the Token Tomo no Kai (sword friendship society) in Gifu Prefecture admitted Monday his involvement in all 23 attacks claimed by the Seibatsu-tai (traitor punishment corps), police said.

According to the police, Ichiro Murakami, who was arrested Friday on suspicion of violating the Firearms and Swords Control Law and other charges, told investigators that he had led a series of attacks that took place since November last year. The group had claimed responsibility for the attacks using several different names, including Seibatsu-tai.

Referring to a shooting at the Hiroshima prefectural teachers union office in June, Murakami reportedly said he carried out the attack because he was furious about the suicide in March of a businessman-turned-school principal in Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture.

The 54-year-old chairman also confessed that shootings targeting Aum Supreme Truth cult facilities in Tokyo and Osaka were carried out because he could not tolerate the cult's continued existence after it carried out the 1995 poison gas attacks on the Tokyo subway.

Murakami allegedly admitted carrying out two of the three gun attacks on Aum buildings, but said the shooting at the teachers union office was done by Tatsuya Hattori, the 40-year-old director of the sword enthusiasts group.

The police were searching for the gun used in the string of shootings after Murakami told them he had dumped it.

During questioning, Murakami also admitted that other arrested members of the group had made telephone calls to news media claiming responsibility for the shootings. So far, the police have investigated six criminal cases claimed by the Seibatsu-tai and arrested 11 members of the group in connection with the cases.

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