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The rightwing reactionaries were arriving in their menacing black-and-white trucks, blasting military music. The politicians were shaking their fists and telling people to go to a garbage dump. The police had locked down all entrances to the Imperial Palace grounds. Riot police lined the road leading to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Girls stood in the streets crying.

The fight for political control centered on Nippon Budokan, the two-year-old martial arts hall beside the Imperial Palace grounds. The political stakes were high. There were 35,000 police deployed over the course of the four-day struggle.

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