YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The operational bases of a Japanese extremist group believed to be connected with a planned 2009 mortar attack on Naval Air Facility Atsugi were raided by police Thursday, but no arrests were made.

Kanagawa Prefectural Police raided 17 different locations in nine prefectures connected to the leftist group Kakurokyo, a police spokesman said Friday.

Police said they confiscated about 130 items, including propaganda publications, cell phones and computers. No weapons seizures were announced.

Atsugi base officials had no comment Friday on the raid.

In December, Kanagawa police found two homemade mortar launchers armed with projectiles in a wooded area about 500 yards north of Atsugi’s main gate in Ayase City, local police and base officials said at the time.

Police also raided Kakuryokyo locations last year on suspicion that the group had fired projectiles at Yokosuka Naval Base in September 2008, when a mortar blasted a hole through an off-base balcony. They confiscated about 60 items at that time, but also made no arrests.

Kakurokyo is one of about 50 so-called New Left groups operating in Japan, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, based at the University of Maryland.

The majority of such groups were formed after the 1955 decision of the Japanese Communist party to abandon violent tactics. Some members, however, chose to start new groups that remained committed to terrorist acts, according to the consortium’s website.

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

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