Taro Yamamoto, the actor-turned-lawmaker at the center of controversy for trying to involve Japan’s Emperor Akihito in politics, has received a knife and a death threat at his office in Tokyo. The envelope contained a knife and a message saying, “A group of assassins carrying knives will be sent to you shortly.”
The letter was intercepted when x-ray machines showed that the envelope had a knife inside. It was sent by a previously unknown group calling itself The Japanese Racial Independence and Liberation Front. Mitsuhiro Kimura, the president of the right-wing Issuikai group said that the name does not sound legit and may have been made up quickly. Yamamoto has been highly criticized for handing a letter containing his anti-nuclear sentiments to the emperor during a garden party in October. This is considered a serious breach of protocol in a nation that used to deify their emperors and still consider them highly important even as just a figure-head.
But even the right-wing activists say the death threat may be going too far. Kimura says he was furious when he found out what Yamamoto did, but sending a knife to him is not acceptable. He said he understands the perceived sentiment of the sender, but it may be too much. Yamamoto has already received a public and official dressing down from the government and was inundated with demands for his resignation from fellow politicians to the Japanese public. Kimura says that while what he did was overstepping his place and rude, the apology that he offered should be enough.
The police say they are investigating the source of the threat and may increase security for the lawmaker to prevent any attempts on his life. Yamamoto, who has always been a staunch anti-nuclear activist, apologized for the incident but refused to resign. He has also received a ban from the Diet’s Upper House from attending any event where a member of the Imperial family is present.
[ via South China Morning Post ]