Japanese Police Issue Annual Report Stressing Threat of Terrorism, Cults

Tokyo, 7 December: International terrorist organizations run by Islamic extremists are expected to continue carrying out attacks worldwide next year and in the immediate future and Japan could become a target, the National Police Agency [NPA] said Tuesday [7 December] in an annual report on security. The agency’s report for 2004 said Japan could be targeted, citing the repeated entries into Japan by a French national believed to be a senior member of Al- Qa’idah and other Islamic extremist group members.

The report said: “The fear that the Islamic community in Japan could be abused by terrorists has become evident.” The report said it is possible Japan could be used as a site for recruiting terrorist group members, information gathering and acquisition of funds.

Lionel Dumont lived in Japan for about a year and travelled abroad from Japan several times on a fake passport. Noting an incident in Iraq in which two Japanese journalists had been attacked and killed, the report called on Japanese nationals to be cautious, saying they could become victims of terrorism abroad. Freelance journalists Shinsuke Hashida and Kotaro Ogawa were killed in an attack by gunmen near Baghdad in May.

On North Korea, the report said the country is likely to strengthen its activities to expedite normalization of diplomatic relations with Japan in order to gain economic support from Japan, as Pyongyang has escalated tension with the international community over its nuclear ambitions. The report said the NPA will tighten controls against North Korean agents and continue investigations into the abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea in the late 1970s and 1980s.

The NPA has been saying it suspects the North Korean ferry Mangyongbong-92, which makes port calls in Japan for pro-Pyongyang Korean residents living in the country, is involved in espionage activities. It said the ferry may have a clandestine role in linking North Korea with the Korean community in Japan and be involved in unauthorized money transfers and exports, as well as dispatch of agents.

The report also said caution is needed regarding the former Aum Shinrikyo cult, which has renamed itself Aleph. There is a “danger” that the cult, which perpetrated the 1995 sarin gas attacks in Tokyo, “could engage in organized illegal activities as the cult has returned to its starting line” by emphasizing the authority of Shoko Asahara, the cult founder whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, the report said.

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Kyodo News Service, Japan
Dec. 7, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday December 7, 2004.
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