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Crimes by rightist groups went up 40 percent during the first eight months
of this year from the same period last year, the National Police Agency
said Thursday.

Police across the country acted against 171 criminal cases, including
rightists’ efforts to obstruct auctions aimed at retrieving failed loans,
it said. The NPA said rightist groups have been increasingly involved in
crimes related to the underworld and “sokaiya” corporate extortionists
amid the widespread payoff scandals involving brokerages and other major
businesses.

If the number of crimes by rightists continues growing at this pace, it
will surpass 250 cases annually for the first time in five years, the NPA
said. The NPA has directed prefectural police across the country to
intensify efforts to crack down on illegal activities by these groups.

According to the NPA, the number of rightists’ crimes targeted for money
was 39 in 1992, but the figure grew to 214 in 1994, an apparent sign that
rightist groups are desperate for funds following the bursting of the
economic bubble. After 1994, the annual figures stayed above 200 cases, it
said.

Among cases this year, extortion and fraud topped the list at 99, followed
by violent acts at 15 and stimulant drug law violations at eight, the NPA
said. Disturbances at public auctions and Political Funds Control Law
violations accounted for five cases each.

In Nara Prefecture, three senior rightist group members were arrested in
July for disturbing a land auction by haranguing the event with their
loudspeaker truck and four-wheel-drive vehicles. They attempted to purchase
the property with a low bid price by making their presence prominent in the
neighborhood so that others would not want to buy the land, police said.

“We are determined to crack down on any crimes by rightist groups, which
are desperate to secure new funding sources and are tightening their ties
with gangs and sokaiya,” an NPA official said.

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