Police have arrested 57 year old Hiroshi Akai, a former Self-Defense Force member, for allegedly assaulting a man who was protesting against the regular anti-Korean demonstration in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. Officers say that Akai hurled himself at a 51 year old company employee after the demonstration on Sunday evening.
Akai, who is now unemployed and a resident from Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, told the Metropolitan Police Department that he just “accidentally bumped” into the other man. But riot police immediately seized him during the commotion and brought him to the police station. This is the first arrest made during these kinds of demonstration. Witnesses say that tensions have been steadily increasing between the anti-Korean protesters and those who are protesting against their demonstrations.
Anti-Korean gatherings are nothing new in the area, as right-wing groups have been staging protests every month in the area, and also in nearby Shin-Okubo. These protesters, who say they are “citizens who do not condone privileges given to Koreans in Japan,” usually chant hateful remarks which bring out jeers from those who do not agree with them. In a protest last March in Shin-Okubo, where a large population of Koreans live, demonstrators carried signs saying “Go back to Korea!” and calling them “cockroaches”. But a large number of residents showed their support for the Korean populace by creating their own placards saying “You are the shame of this country!”, “You’re the ones who need to go home!” Even as tensions grew, the anti-protesters won out and drove out the anti-Korean demonstrators.