On the morning of June 20, a group of about ten officers from the Kojimachi Police Station, including Lieutenant Etsuo Takemura, visited Yujiro Tsuneno’s apartment without any notice and searched it. It was about the allegation of the violation of the Minor Offence Act : “he placed a piece of paper with Hinomaru crossed out at the Yasukuni Shrine.” The police entered Tsuneno-san’s room when he was still asleep, and confiscated a total of 28 items including his cell phone and computer. Included in the items taken are his identifications (all he had) such as his disability certificate, student ID, health insurance card, and passport, which are vital for Tsuneno-san’s living.
It is not difficult to imagine the psychological trauma of encountering the police in a private room just waking up, and he cannot even go to the hospital as the insurance card was taken away. Further, the police even took a description sheet for the medications from a pharmacy. Also, they requested him to come voluntarily to a police station for questioning and, when they confiscated his cell phone, threatened that “we will return it sooner if you tell us the passcode,” but Tsuneno-san refused both demands.
This unjust house search is simply unforgivable: the police visited his apartment out of the blue and took away such items necessary for living as his IDs, cell phone, and insurance card, which are not directly related to the alleged case.
This house search is not only harassment to Tsuneno-san personally but also intended to cause isolation among neighbors and friends, damaging him. The police know that he is certified as a mentally disabled person, and still put such psychological pressure; they also deprived him of such items as his insurance card. This horrendous personal attack and destruction of living is all too unjust.
As the investigation was about the alleged minor offence, a poster placed with scotch tape on the torii, a shrine gateway, this is totally disproportionate and has to be said to be a vicious act of power with dubious legal consistency. It is clear that the police’s actions were political repression on the protest act on the premises of the Yasukuni Shrine on the Day of Showa and the message of Hinomaru crossed out.
What Tsuneno-san intended to affirm was that “we need to destroy the Yasukuni Shrine, a symbol of militarism and colonialism, and the Day of Showa, which celebrates the birthday of Hirohito, Commander in Chief of the war of aggression.”
We should pay attention to the fact that the police resorted to excessive measures and conducted a house search for just placing a piece of paper on the torii, destroying a normal way of living. Yasukuni and the Imperial System as apparatuses to force subjection openly come after those who oppose them with their violent nature. Today, when the ruling politicians revise history, glamorize the war of aggression, and issue threats against neighboring nations, the voices pointing out and protesting against Japan’s continuity with its wartime structure with historical developments are thus under attack one by one. The lese-majeste law is virtually coming back.
We protest against this repression on Tsuneno-san and demand the police to:
- Return all of the 28 confiscated items right now
- Stop any investigation on, or contacts with, Tsuneno-san right now
- Stop repression on protests against the war of aggression and colonial rule
We call for your attention and support.
June 21, 2014
The Rescue Committee for Hinomaru Crossed out
Postal Address: Kyuen Renraku Center, Fifth Floor, Ishida Building, 2-8-16 Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
We invite an endorsement of the statement above from organizations and individuals. We would also appreciate a message.
Please email us at email@example.com with the following information:
- name of the organization or individual (pseudonym acceptable)
- if it it is OK to publish your name?
- message (if any)
We will publish endorsements at our blog.
We call for donations for the rescue activities:
1. On June 20, Etsuo Takemura of the Kojimachi Police Station sent Tsuneno-san a letter, requesting him to come for questioning. It arrived the following the day, and he refused the request.
2. On June 22, Tsuneno-san's lawyer filed a quasi-complaint at the Tokyo District Court, demanding the return of the confiscated items.
3. On JJune 26, Etsuo Takemura and two other police officers visited Tsuneno-san's apartment without any notice. Their reason was to return half the items they took like IDs; they did not return the other half like his computer and cell phone. They also brought a letter requesting Tsuneno-san to come to the Kojimachi Station for questioning. He did not comply with the request. The Tokyo District Court is yet to make any decision about the quasi-complaint.