Riot police raid Kyoto University dormitory


Scores of fully-clad riot police raided a dormitory at one of the nation’s leading universities on Thursday, in an apparently heavy-handed response to a left-wing movement that may involve students.

Ranks of helmeted officers carrying shields and wearing protective clothing converged on the dormitory at the prestigious Kyoto University, backed up by plain-clothed officers.

The operation was being carried out by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police in connection with the arrest earlier this month of three leftist activists, including at least one Kyoto University student.

The three were arrested on suspicion of obstructing public officials and were accused of using violence against riot police on the sidelines of a labor rally in Tokyo on Nov. 2.

Thursday’s raid showed no evidence of any violence. Riot police were reportedly brought in to “prevent confusion.”

Student radicalism in Japan reached its peak in the 1960s and 1970s, when violent activists demonstrated against Japan’s military alliance with the United States, the Vietnam War, and the construction of Narita international airport outside of Tokyo.

But the movement gradually receded as Japan grew wealthier. The few remaining activists are very much a fringe force. But the government’s unpopular push to restart nuclear reactors and expand the role of the military has provided the activists with renewed impetus.

Japanese police regularly turn out in force for protests, even those involving a small number of often-elderly participants.

  • rossdorn

    Bravo, riot police !

    “…a left-wing movement that may involve students….”

    Unbelievable! Where do these students think they live?

  • Ignatius

    Yeah, who they think they are being left winged people in Japan? (This is sarcasm)

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    Motorhead’s best album…Overkill.

  • C20

    3 Students caused this???

    • J.P. Bunny

      Three evil students that may have been involved in free thinking. Horrors!

  • Oliver Mackie

    You have to understand that this is a very cutting edge technique! Undoubtedly the preparatory footwork was done by plain-clothes police, but if they had sent so many in plain clothes to arrest the students, who would likely have also been dressed in plain clothes, the police might have gotten confused and arrested each other instead. Hence the uniforms and riot shields to ‘prevent confusion’, you see!

  • spartan2600

    Fascism is always trying to kill the left. Cops are fascist. Therefore, the Tokyo cops are trying to kill the left.

  • Carla Johnson

    Only in Japan, riot police raiding a college dorm.

  • Conrad Brean

    This is what would happen in North Korea or Iran. Any idea that questions the totalitarian regime of the LDP must be exterminated! No independent or critical thinking allowed in Japan. For those of you who think that Japan is a democracy…wake up!

    • Rasmus Fugl

      Well, democracy is arguably a myth no matter what country it is, even
      those that are classified as the most well functioning and egalitarian
      democracies in the world. It’s a cover up for bureaucratism. Cover everything up by annual votings and allow the population to vote for their preferred leader every 4 years and people think they’re in control, but all decisions made in between elections are made without consent of the population who suffer from politicians’ bad decisions and egotistical self-interests.

  • samarkand

    While the article relies on wire reports, it is so vague that I truly hope that the Japan Times does a follow-up article of its own. What kind of violence were the police alleging took place at a demonstration in Tokyo? Who was arrested? What kind of “confusion” were the police anticipating to justify such a large number of riot police? The Xinhua news agency says that students in the dormitory demanded to see a search warrant — is this true? Did the police have a search warrant? Did they find any evidence related to the crimes alleged?

    So far, it seems the use riot police of riot police in this situation — combined with spotty reporting — has done the opposite of preventing confusion.

    • Conrad Brean

      This is the extent of Japanese corporate journalism Absolutely no analysis of anything that questions the status quo. Fukushima, weapons build up, or even the man who immolates himself because of Abe’s militarization agenda. NO COVERAGE OR QUESTIONS. Its North Korea or some other fascist regime under the cloud of Pikachu.

  • Guest

    Well, democracy is arguably a myth no matter what country it is, even
    those that are classified as the most well functioning and egalitarian
    democracies in the world. It’s a cover up for bureaucratism.

  • Conrad Brean

    Riots shields. What were they expecting….ISIS with chopsticks and sushi.

    • anoninjapan

      Just think..if they were right wing activist….would have been worse. No police at all…as THAT is accepted and tolerated!

      What a sorry mess the keystone cops are in…not helped by Abe’s right wing agenda!

  • Steve Jackman

    Such disproportionate show of force by the police is designed to do one thing only, which is, to send a clear message to students and anyone else in Japan who may contemplate challenging the status-quo that they will be crushed, humiliated, stigmatized and branded for life, if they dare to challenge “the System”. This is the same Japanese “System”, which Karel van Wolferen wrote so affectively about in his excellent book, “The Enigma of Japanese Power”. Yet, some people still insist on calling Japan a “democracy”. Bravo, “the System”, you would do Kim Jong Un proud!

    I can hardly wait for the regular spinmeisters on this site to start spinning this news too, to make it appear positive and further proof of why Japan is such a free country which respects civil and human rights of its residents.