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Former lawmaker Muneo Suzuki has received letters containing rifle bullets at his Tokyo and Hokkaido offices, while a similar letter has been sent to the residence of former Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, police said Monday.

The three letters contained bullets and notes signed by a group calling itself “Kenkoku Giyugun Kokuzoku Seibatsutai,” a rough translation of which is “nation-building volunteers corps to conquer traitors.”

Police said they are treating the incidents as cases of intimidation and violations of the Explosives Control Law. They suspect a connection with 13 other similar cases.

The name Kenkoku Giyugun was used by telephone callers who claimed responsibility for a bomb placed outside the home of Deputy Foreign Minister Hitoshi Tanaka in September, as well as for attacks on North Korea-related facilities across Japan.

It was also used in conjunction with another letter — also containing a live round — that was sent last month to recently retired lawmaker Hiromu Nonaka, a former secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The letter to Suzuki’s Tokyo office, which arrived by express mail Sunday evening, features similar wording to that used in the letter sent to Nonaka and seems to have been written with a similar felt-tipped pen, police said.

Hokkaido police said later that a staffer at the Kushiro office in Hokkaido reported finding a similar envelope and letter.

Police found the letter sent to Kono’s house in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Monday afternoon, having been alerted by staff at his office. It contained a bullet and a note bearing the name Kenkoku Giyugun Kokuzoku Seibatsutai, investigators said.

Suzuki, Kono and Nonaka lost their status as lawmakers when the House of Representatives was dissolved Oct. 10 for the Nov. 9 general election.

Suzuki’s secretary in Tokyo called police in the morning after opening the letter and finding the bullet. Police said the envelopes sent to Suzuki bore a sender’s name of “Nagata-cho Joka Iinkai,” which roughly means “committee to purge Nagata-cho,” which is a district in Tokyo that serves as Japan’s political center.

Suzuki said Saturday he will not run in the general election, citing planned surgery for stomach cancer. He is on trial on bribe-taking and vote-buying charges and was forced to leave the LDP in March 2002.

Since last year, Suzuki’s offices have had an assortment of what they call “suspicious goods” delivered to them, as well as threatening calls.

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