In 2004, an Algerian man going by the name of Lionel Dumont entered Japan on a forged French passport. While working for a used car agency in Niigata Prefecture, he was said to have transferred over 10 million yen to people in Nagano. He also allegedly engaged in smuggling activities, working with Russian seamen.
Dumont, who allegedly had ties to al-Qaida, departed Japan and was later arrested in Germany.
"While his purpose for entering Japan was not clear at first, we learned from the German intelligence services that Dumont had raised some 300 million yen from sympathizers in Japan," a retired policeman informs Shukan Bunshun (Dec 31-Jan 7). "After remitting the funds via an underground banking network he left the country."
That was over a decade ago. So why should this matter now?
Because, the magazine claims, history may be repeating itself. At least two agents of the Islamic State are said to have already entered Japan. They are referred to in the article merely as Mr A and Mr B. The former is believed to be an "advance man" for terrorist activities.
The concerns are not without some basis in fact. According to a source in the police, such details as Mr A's real name, nationality (French), height, distinguishing features, and even the accent with which he speaks are known to authorities.
Mr B, however, is still an unknown. His mission may be to raise funds for his organization, following in the footsteps of the aforementioned Dumont.
If the two are determined to wreak havoc, however, they have their work cut out for them.
"Japan has no network or infrastructure for supporting terrorists or obtaining weapons," a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs points out. "For them to pull off the kind of large-scale attack (such as in Paris last month) does not rise to the level of probability."
Should those remarks prove wrong, the task of contending with any type of terrorist attack will fall on two crack organizations, a special forces unit belonging to the Ground Self Defense Force and units of the SAT (Special Assault Team), made up of civilian police.
A source in the Justice Ministry tells the magazine, "If terrorist attacks were to occur in Japan, the ministries and bureaus that deal with the economy, treasury and so on are likely to be targeted."
"We could not rule out that terrorists' aims be to sow panic," he continues. "Targeting of the shinkansen is viewed as a plausible threat. It’s been said that when American special forces raided an al-Qaida headquarters, they found images of Japan's shinkansen. Hopefully this wouldn't be the Tokaido shinkansen, which serves as Japan's 'coronary artery,' but one can't be sure."
No one can rule out the possibility that while maximum security precautions will be taken next May at the G7 summit planned for Ise-Shima, terrorists might instead stage multiple coordinated attacks in Tokyo -- not unlike what occurred in 2005, during the 31st G8 conference in Scotland, when the underground and other transport in London were attacked during the morning rush hour, resulting in 56 deaths (including the four perpetrators).
In anticipation of a similar attack in Tokyo, according to another police source, proactive consideration is being given to merge the SAT police unit in Tokyo with those in neighboring Chiba and Kanagawa and placing them under a single command.
And what about A and B, those two Islamic State agents who may have already slipped into the country?
"The Immigration Bureau and police are poring over security camera footage at international airports and seaports," a police source tells the magazine. But as of Dec 20, no traces of them had been found.© Japan Today