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Fire and bullets threats for Japanese broacaster

JAPAN'S public broadcaster NHK said yesterday that one of its offices was set on fire over the weekend and that it had received letters containing bullets.

The broadcaster said it did not know what the motive for the fire was.

The fire broke out on Sunday at an NHK bureau in the southern city of Fukuoka, damaging the office ceiling, the broadcaster said.

On Monday, an envelope containing a bullet was delivered to the broadcaster's Tokyo headquarters, an NHK official said.

The bullet, taped to a piece of paper, carried a printed word, "Sekihotai" ?? the name of a group that claimed responsibility for a fatal attack in 1987 at the offices of a major newspaper. No further message was enclosed.

Similar mail was delivered to NHK offices in central Nagano and northern Sapporo, the NHK official said. A fourth letter addressed to the Fukuoka bureau, also containing a bullet, was seized at the local post office yesterday.

"These actions against media institutions could threaten the freedom of the press and the public's right to know, as well as democracy," Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said.

Investigators have not determined if the arson and the threatening mail were related, police said. They also did not immediately link the cases to right-wing nationalists, who have in the past attacked the media and some left-leaning politicians.


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