Eight people were arrested on Sunday as an anti-Korean demonstration in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo turned violent. 200 supporters of Zaitokukai (“Citizens Against Special Privileges for Zainichi”) showed up in Shinjuku Ward for their regular anti-Korean demonstration in an area heavily populated with Korean citizens. Around 350 members of Reishisuto wo Shibakitai (“Resistance Troops Against Those Who Discriminate”), a group who opposes their diatribe, made their presence felt as well.
Tensions started to escalate as members of the two groups started spitting at each other on Sunday afternoon at around 2PM. The fighting turned a bit violent as they started hitting each other with their umbrellas at first, then eventually some people started using their fists. Police began breaking up the fight and started arresting some members of both groups, including Zaitokukai leader Makoto Sakurai and three of his members, along with the anti-protestor leader Kenji Kubo plus three group members as well. They were all detained on suspicion of criminal assault. Sakurai is said to have spit on Yoshiaki Sei, a member of Reishisuto wo Shibakitai who allegedly retaliated by grabbing Sakurai’s glasses.
It is no surprise that things have boiled to a head with these two groups. The Zaitokukai anti-Korean sentiment has been increasing the past few months, mainly due to territorial and historical issues between Japan and South Korea. Last March, during one of their rallies, they carried signs saying “Go back to Korea!” and called the Korean residents there “cockroaches”. A large number of Japanese residents however showed up to counter their hate speech, carrying their own placards saying “You are the shame of this country!”, “You’re the ones who need to go home!”
[ via Mainichi ]