YEAR ESTABLISHED OR BECAME ACTIVE: 1957
ESTIMATED SIZE: Unknown
USUAL AREA OF OPERATION: Japan
Chukakuha (or Chukaku-Ha) is a Marxist-leftist insurgency group in Japan. The group is also known as the Middle Core Faction, Nucleus Faction, or Zenshinsha.
Chukakuha is a Marxist-leftist group that was initiated in 1957, following a split in the Japanese Communist Party. The group has a political and military wing, and has carried out attacks in Japan against the Japanese government, U.S. military installments in Japan, and the UN.
Chukakuha was originally part of a Trotskyite organization in Japan, with the objective of revolting to implement socialism. Chukakuha, and another group called Kakumaruha, resulted when the Trotskyite organization split in 1963. Chukakuha was most active during the 1960s when the antigovernment movement was at its peak. However, Chukakuha remains the largest of fifty new-left groups currently in the country. The group has held a normal active membership of about two hundred, and has had as many as 3,500 supporters.
In 1974, members of Chukakuha bought a building in Tokyo, posing as a printing company seeking a location for their business. Several months later, their real identity became clear, and police began to monitor the premises. There have been police raids at the location over the last several decades, and nearby residents are angered at the group's continued presence in the neighborhood.
Chukakuha and other leftist groups have protested Tokyo's International Airport and its expansion for many years. In 1985, clashes between police and Chukakuha broke out at the airport, injuring twenty-five police officers. Nineteen leftist activists were arrested and given sentences over the clash.
Three buses were exploded without causalities in 1992 during further resistance toward airport expansion. In 1998, the group was involved with bombing the home of Tadanori Yamaguchi, an airport official in charge of buying more land to increase the number of runways. Yamaguchi was uninjured. In 1998, the group injured one employee when several explosives were set off in the airport. The car of a government official working on a project related to the airport was destroyed by Chukakuha in 2001.
Chukakuha protested Japanese military decisions in 1992. Rockets were fired at the homes of several high-level government officials, including that of Takashi Inoue, the Chairman of the Upper House of Parliament Steering Committee. The committee had approved a law allowing troops to be deployed overseas in Cambodia. The home of the U.S. Consul General in Nishinomiya was also damaged by a Chukakuha mortar attack in 1992. There were no injuries reported.
Chukakuha was responsible for the sabotage and firing of projectiles on railways and subways in Tokyo, and carrying out arson attacks at Shinto shrines in 1992. These attacks were in opposition to the enthronement of Japanese Emperor Akihito.
In 1993, Chukakuha injured a diplomat and slightly damaged the United Nations Technology Center in Osaka, Japan, by setting off a homemade explosive device.
Also in 1993, Chukakuha attempted an offensive against the G-7 summit in Tokyo. However, the group only managed to set off several homemade rockets that landed near the U.S. Army Base Zama.
- Chukakuha and Kakumaruha split from Trotskyite organization.
- Chukakuha active in the antigovernment movement.
- A building purchased by Chukakuha in a Tokyo neighborhood serves as an official headquarters for the organization.
- Clashes occur with police during a Chukakuha protest of the expansion of Tokyo International Airport.
- Buses destroyed during a protest of airport expansion.
- Chukakuha fires rockets at homes of government officials, protesting sending peace-keeping troops to Cambodia.
- Enthronement of Emperor Akihito and his visit to China is protested by Chukakuha.
- The home of the U.S. Consul General in Nishinomiya was damaged by a Chukakuha mortar attack.
- Chukakuha injured a diplomat during an attack at the United Nations Technology Center in Osaka.
- An attempt to attack the G-7 summit in Tokyo by launching homemade rockets aimed at the U.S. Army Base Zama.
- The home of an official at the Tokyo International Airport is bombed by Chukakuha.
- The car of an official working on an airport-related project is destroyed.
PHILOSOPHY AND TACTICS
Chukakuha is a Marxist group, claiming to support communism for the benefit of the common Japanese citizen. The group claims to do this by fighting against structures, organizations, and processes that it labels "imperialistic." These structures include the imperial system of Japan, a largely symbolic system, certain activities of the Japanese government, activities of the United States, and of the United Nations.
The group has been particularly critical of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, transportation projects paid for by the Japanese government, and the dispatch of Japanese forces to Iraq.
One of Chukakuha's largest causes has been resistance toward the international airport in Narita. Their disagreement with the airport began as land was to be taken from Japanese farmers to create room for the rapidly expanding airport. However, the group's resistance toward the airport and projects related to the airport have continued for over twenty years, even after expansion has been completed.
Chukakuha is also active against Japan's involvement in military actions overseas. The group has been against the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. Chukakuha has protested the sending of Japanese forces to positions throughout Asia, and more recently to Iraq.
Typically, Chukakuha has carried out its activities of sending political messages through legal channels. However, the group often reverts to violent activities. Usually, these attacks specifically target government facilities. The group claims that its violent operations have been designed to garner publicity for its positions on public policy. The group alleges that it attempts to damage or destroy property, not to kill or injure people.
Chukakuha has attempted to align itself with other citizens' groups protesting activities that the government is carrying out. Their hope is to be seen as a more legitimate voice in Japan. The construction of a highway near the head-quarters of Chukakuha was protested by residents in the neighborhood. Chukakuha made attempts to coordinate and lead the protests, attempting to be more widely accepted by the community.
The group has also distributed leaflets containing information about the group's motives and philosophy at various universities. This was the case when the group set off explosives to deter the emperor and empress from visiting shrines where the couple was to carry out traditional imperial duties. The group explains that it is unhappy with the religious events associated with the emperor.
Chukakuha claims to be working for the rights of the common Japanese citizen. The group says that its main goal is to send political messages that meet this end. However, the question of whether or not the group has been working in the best interest of the people has been posed.
Those living in the neighborhood where Chukakuha bought a building and set up head-quarters have called for them to leave the area. They say the group is more of a nuisance than a help. The local citizens claimed to be unhappy with the group when it participated in and coordinated protests against the building of a highway in their neighborhood.
Attempts to draw attention to the issues involved with the expansion of the airport did cause the Japanese government to rethink its strategy for expansion. It is unclear if the approach of Chukakuha to use legal political routes, and only use violence to destroy property and not cause causalities, gives the group more legitimacy.
Chukakuha has its roots in communism, arising after a split in the Japanese Communist Party in the 1950s. The group was most active in the 1960s, when resistance against government saw its peak. However, the group remains the largest of the radical new-left groups in Japan. The group has been outspoken against Japanese presence in Iraq, and one of its last known attacks was in 2001 against property of a government official working on an airport-related issue.
Japan Economic Newswire. "Chukakuha Claims Series of Attacks." Kyoto News International Inc. November 1990.
Japan Economic Newswire. "Nineteen Activists Given Sentences over Airport Clash." Kyoto News International Inc. October 1989.
Japan Economic Newswire. "Radical Leader Held over Narita Threats." Kyoto News International Inc. September 1989.
National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism—Terrorism Knowledge Base. "Chukakuha." 〈http://tkb.org/Group.jsp?groupID=3578〉 (accessed September 27, 2005).
Federation of American Scientists. "Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1992, Asia Overview." 〈http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/terror_92/asia.html〉 (accessed September 27, 2005).
International Policy of Counter-Terrorism. "Chukakuh-ha." 〈http://www.ict.org.il/inter_ter/orgdet.cfm?orgid=9〉 (accessed September 27, 2005).
Anti Terrorism Force Protection 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. "Chukakuh-ha." 〈http://www.1maw.usmc.mil/ATFP/News/02-3.pdf#search='MiddleCore%20Faction'〉 (accessed September 27, 2005).