TOKYO — "Where were the cops?" was the reaction many Japanese "men-in-the-street" voiced to Monday's attack on Prime Minister Takeo Miki who was punched three times in the face by an ultra-rightist as he waited for the start of National funeral services for former Prime Minister Eisaku Sato.

"What do we pay the police for?" asked a taxi driver in Tokyo's Roppongi district. "They're supposed to protect government leaders. What a disgrace it would have been if the man had attacked a foreign guest."

"How did the man even get close to the prime minister?" asked an office worker at Shibuya Station. "Weren't the police on guard against things like that? They must have relaxed after catching the people who committed the bombings."

"The police should have put those people in jail a long time ago," said a restaurant owner in Tachikawa. "They've been causing trouble for years."

Others had similar comments, and public safety officials hinted Monday night that some disciplinary action may be forthcoming. Hajime Fukuda, National Public Safety Commission director, told a televised news conference he had ordered a full investigation to fix responsibility.

Kuniyasu Tsuchida, Metropolitan Police Agency superintendent, also apologized at a televised news conference for what he called "police negligence," and said new methods of protecting public officials are being discussed.

The man who attacked Miki — Hiroyoshi Fudeyasu, 34 — is secretary-general, police said, of the Great Japan Patriotic Party. He — police say he's been arrested 81 times — and his party have been in and out of trouble with the law for years.

The party is led by Bin Akao, a 76-year-old World War II Diet member who is a militant anti-Communist. admirer of Adolf Hitler and who seems able to find "red herrings" in any political group but his own.

Tokyo's Mayor Ryokichi Minobe has "established a bridgehead for a Red takeover of the country," Akao says. Miki's cabinet is pro-Communist and all opposition political parties in the country are "subversive."

Backed by a band of khaki-uniformed, booted, tough-looking young men, Akao can be found most days standing atop a sound truck on the Ginza or in front of Tokyo Station shouting his anti-Communist philosophy.

He and his followers — he claims a following of between 3,000 and 5,000, but police say the number is closer to 300 — frequently have shown up at demonstrations and rallies staged by leftist groups in Tokyo and have sometimes employed storm-trooper tactics to "help" police keep order. Police always have isolated them, pushed them from the area and declined their offers of "help."

In 1959, Akao knocked former Foreign Minister Aiichiro Fujiyama to the floor in the Foreign Ministry because he didn't like Fujiyama's "attitude about moving Koreans to North Korea."

Fudeyasu, who attacked Miki Monday, also once was charged with throwing a bottle of ink at a plane which was to carry Fujiyama to China in the 1960s,

Akao was implicated in the assassination of Japan Socialist Party Chairman Inejiro Asanuma during a party convention in 1960. A Tokyo judge cleared him, saying there was only circumstantial evidence against him, but a 17-year-old youth who once was a member of Akao's group was arrested for murder and committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell.

In 1961, Akao was arrested in connection with a knife attack on the wife of publisher who printed a book depicting the execution of Emperor Hirohito and his family. Again, he was cleared, but a young member of his party was charged with murder. The publisher's wife was injured, and her housemaid was stabbed to death.

Akao, who attended Sato's national funeral with other former Diet members, has disavowed any connection with the attack on Miki.

Police have questioned him and searched his party office in Tokyo Monday night. They say they are keeping close tabs on him and his followers.

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