Right-wing members to lose driver’s licenses over traffic incident with Hatoyama

Members of the Somokukki no Kai are expected to lose their driver's licenses over a traffic incident involving former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in 2015
Members of the Somokukki no Kai are expected to lose their driver’s licenses over a traffic incident involving former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in 2015

TOKYO (TR) – In a push for safety regarding the operations of right-wing organizations, the National Public Safety Commission is expected to revoke the driver’s licenses of members of such a group for a traffic incident involving former prime minister Yukio Hatoyama two years ago, reports the Asahi Shimbun (May 22).

Two months ago, 20 members of the Somokukki no Kai, which maintains about 10 groups in the Kanto area, were not prosecuted for violating traffic laws, including ignoring red lights, during a four-kilometer parade from Yasukuni Shrine in Kudanshita (Chiyoda Ward) to Akasaka (Minato) in October of 2015.

However, the public safety commission is planning to revoke the licenses of the members as an administrative measure to restrict what are viewed as dangerous activities by right-wing groups.

In the incident in question, 20 propaganda trucks and vehicles from the Somokukki no Kai participated in the parade. At an intersection outside of that stretch, Hatoyama’s car was surrounded and stopped by the vehicles for a 10-minute period. The former prime minister had just left a symposium at Meiji University that discussed the building of friendly ties between China and Japan.

In December of 2015, police searched the offices of the Somokukki no Kai on suspicion of disruption of the duties of Hatoyama’s driver. Officers seized data and impounded trucks belonging to the group. Two arrests were subsequently made.

Over the next few weeks, eight members of the group will be summoned to court for hearings about the case. The remaining 12 members will have their licenses revoked at their residences by police.

Raise historical awareness

According to police, right-wing groups use sound systems mounted on the propaganda trucks to blast claims about disputed territories and raise historical awareness. The groups also use the vehicles to harass the offices of corporations and organizations such that money will be paid for them to leave.

In 2016, there were 1,499 incidents involving right-wing groups, the majority of which (915) involved violations of the Road Traffic Act. There were 206 cases of fraud and blackmail.

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