/

Envelope containing knife, threat sent to lawmaker Yamamoto

JIJI

An envelope containing a knife has been sent to House of Councilors lawmaker Taro Yamamoto, who has drawn fire for handing a letter to Emperor Akihito last month, it was learned Wednesday.

The envelope also included a message with an apparent threat to kill the lawmaker. The Metropolitan Police Department has launched an investigation for suspected intimidation.

On Friday, Yamamoto was reprimanded by Upper House President Masaaki Yamazaki for handing the letter to the Emperor during an Imperial autumn garden party late last month. The Upper House Steering Committee decided to bar Yamamoto from all official events related to the Imperial Family.

Yamamoto, known as an anti-nuclear activist, has said he wanted the Emperor to pay attention to problems caused by the nuclear calamity at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 power station.

Police and other sources said the envelope contained a folding knife with a blade 8 to 9 cm long. On the back of the envelope, a message in red said, “A group of assassins carrying knifes will be sent to you shortly.”

The sender claimed to be the head of an organization bearing a Japanese name that can be translated as “The Japanese Race Independence and Liberation Front.” Investigative sources said there is no organization registered under the name.

An X-ray detected a suspicious object in the envelope at an office building for Diet members Wednesday morning. The envelope was opened by an official of Yamamoto’s office as police observed.

It is regrettable that the threat was sent to Yamamoto, the office of the lawmaker said, adding that it would watch the progress of the police investigation.