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Right-wing group members charged in incident involving ex-PM Hatoyama

Trucks from the Somokukki no Kai surround ex-PM Hatoyama’s car in Chiyoda Ward
Trucks from the Somokukki no Kai surround ex-PM Hatoyama’s car in Chiyoda Ward

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have filed charges against 20 members of a right-wing group for a traffic incident involving former prime minister Yukio Hatoyama last year, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (May 16).

In October, 20 propaganda trucks and vehicles from the Somokukki no Kai allegedly violated traffic laws, including ignoring red lights, during a four-kilometer parade from Yasukuni Shrine in Kudanshita (Chiyoda Ward) to Akasaka (Minato).

The members, residing in Tokyo and Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba and Tochigi prefectures, were charged with violating the Road Traffic Act for committing dangerous acts as a group. One member partially denied the charges, saying that the fact they operated as a group had no meaning.

At an intersection outside of that stretch, Hatoyama’s car was surrounded and stopped by vehicles from the group 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, 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.

According to Jiji Press (May 16), it is possible that the 20 defendants will have their driver’s licenses cancelled.