The latest in a spate of anti-Korean demonstrations in Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo district turned into an ugly melee Sunday between two rival groups, resulting in eight arrests, including the leader of an ultra-rightist organization and a leftist rival.
Makoto Sakurai, 41, who heads the Zainichi Tokken wo Yurusanai Shimin no Kai (Zaitokukai), was nabbed for allegedly grabbing a leftist group member by the collar and spitting in his face, police said Monday.
Yoshiaki Sei, a core member of the leftist group Reisisuto Shibakitai, was also arrested after he hit back at Sakurai and knocked his glasses off, the police said.
Sakurai, whose real last name is Takata, reportedly told officers he had no intention of assaulting Sei, who claimed he was only fighting back.
Six others were arrested for allegedly throwing punches and landing blows with umbrellas, reports said. One suspect reportedly admitted perpetrating an assault while the others remained silence.
In an official statement Monday, Zaitokukai Deputy Chairman Yasuhiro Yagi defended Sakurai as a “victim” of the skirmish, claiming the other side set an ambush for him.