Jihad in Japan. From Reuters, with thanks to Nicolei:
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese police acting on suspicions al Qaeda may have set up a network in Japan arrested an eighth person on Thursday for violating immigration laws.
Six people were arrested last week as part of an investigation into the activities of Lionel Dumont, an Algerian-born French national suspected of being involved in delivering equipment and funds to al Qaeda while living in Japan.
The seventh was arrested late on Wednesday.
Media reports have said that Dumont, who was arrested in Germany last December, may have been trying to create a network of foreign contacts for al Qaeda.
Police said the latest arrests were of two Bangladeshis, one of whom had been employed by a man who was arrested last week.
One of those arrested last week is suspected of having links to an Islamic group in Pakistan seeking independence for Kashmir, a region claimed by both India and Pakistan, media reports said.
Of course, al-Qaeda has threatened Japan for sending troops to Iraq. To those who see conflicts as regional rather than ideological, Iraq has nothing to do with Kashmir. To the jihadis, each conflict- Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Kashmir- is but one battle in a single war.
The arrests have stirred calls in the media for tougher immigration controls and other steps to give authorities greater powers to prevent attacks.
Last Thursday, parliament passed a law toughening penalties on illegal aliens as part of an effort to deal with a rising number of crimes committed by foreigners.
Dumont, 33, lived in Niigata, northwest of Tokyo, with his German wife from July 2002 through September 2003 and traveled frequently between Japan, Malaysia and Germany, using the false passport, media reports have said.
He made some 45 bank deposits and withdrawals, each involving several hundred thousand yen (100,000 yen is about $900) in a one-month period after entering Japan in 2002, the reports said.
Dumont had been wanted by Interpol in connection with various incidents, including an attempted bomb attack against the Group of Seven summit in Lyon, France in June 1996. He was sentenced to life imprisonment by a French court in 2001 in his absence.
The man at the center of the investigation had an astonishing ability to blend in.
NIGITA (AP) To his neighbors, Lionel Dumont was a mystery.
When police and immigration officials asked about the Frenchman, Dumont’s landlord had no idea who he was, even though the landlord lived right across the street and had only 36 tenants in his apartment building.
“They showed me a black-and-white picture and asked if I remembered him,” Jubei Sato said. “I couldn’t place him at all. I don’t think I saw him once the whole three months he lived here. He blended right in, never caused any trouble. But I found out after he left that he’d only paid half his rent.”