Justice Minister Hideo Usui said Friday that his ministry will look into the circumstances surrounding the Japanese citizenship granted to an Italian-born man wanted in the bombing of a Milan bank in 1969.
“We have to deal strictly with terrorism. The ministry is considering every aspect for possible measures to be taken,” Usui said after a Cabinet meeting.
Italian authorities have asked Japan to extradite Delfo Zorzi, describing him as a member of a neofascist group responsible for the bomb attack, which killed 16 people and injured 84 others.
Usui said his ministry received a letter from the Italian government via the Foreign Ministry requesting that Zorzi be extradited.
The Italian government filed a formal request to the Japanese government on March 31 for Zorzi’s extradition.
Tokyo has indicated that it is willing to send the alleged terrorist back to Italy to face trial, and if it was determined that he had deliberately supplied false information during the naturalization process then his extradition would be very likely.
Zorzi, 52, has lived in Japan since 1979. He married a Japanese and obtained Japanese citizenship in 1989.
Justice Ministry officials said earlier if Japanese authorities can substantiate the criminal allegations made by the Italian government, Zorzi could be stripped of his Japanese citizenship — paving the way for his extradition to Italy.
Under Japanese law, Japanese citizens cannot be extradited overseas even if they are fugitives from crimes committed abroad. Zorzi automatically lost his Italian citizenship when he was naturalized as a Japanese.
Ministry sources said Zorzi’s citizenship can be revoked because naturalization law requires evidence of “good behavior” before citizenship can be granted.
In a meeting with Italian parliamentary leader Luciano Violante in Tokyo on Wednesday, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori signaled Japan’s willingness to comply with the extradition request. There is no extradition treaty between Japan and Italy.
The Milan bombing took place at the Banca Nazionale dell’Agricoltura on Dec. 12, 1969. Zorzi is one of four main suspects in a trial that opened in Milan on Feb. 16.
All the defendants were prominent members of the extremist, neofascist group Ordine Nuovo (New Order), according to Italian media.