Extremist murdered in knife attack

A 48-year-old leftist extremist was stabbed to death by a group of knife-wielding men wearing masks Wednesday morning in front of JR Uguisudani Station in Tokyo’s Taito Ward, apparently the victim of an internal dispute within an ultraleftist group, police said.

Mieko Katayama, a member of Kakurokyo, was rushed to a nearby hospital but died later, police said.

Witnesses reported seeing three or four men attack her, police said.

After the 8:15 a.m. attack, the assailants fled in a black van, which had been set on fire before it was found about one hour later in a parking lot in Kita Ward, about 2.4 km away.

Katayama reportedly belonged to an antimainstream branch of the group and police suspect an internal dispute led to her killing.

There have been eight such violent incidents involving the ultraleftist group since June 1999, when it split into mainstream and antimainstream factions, and five activists have been killed, police said.

According to investigators, Wednesday’s attack occurred about 20 meters from the main exit of the train station.

Police said the license plate was removed from the van and a timer and batteries believed to be part of a timed incendiary were found inside the burned-out vehicle.