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Two Railway Employees Among 48 Arrested on Sabotage Charges

December 5, 1985

TOKYO (AP) _ Officials said today two Japanese National Railways workers were among 48 people police arrested after a series of sabotage attacks that paralyzed commuter rail lines in Tokyo last week.

Both were taken into custody in connection with the firebombing of a railroad station in eastern Tokyo, said Shojiro Nanya, chief of the JNR railways labor division.

He said the two, aged 28 and 32, had taken vacation days on Nov. 28 and 29 and had not reported for work since then.

Authorities have blamed last Friday’s sabotage, mostly involving cutting communications and signal cables to halt service on 22 railway lines, on leftist radicals sympathetic to a striking motormen’s union.

About 6.5 million people were late to work or school, officials said. Most service was restored later the same day.

Police said 46 of those arrested Friday were identified as members of the radical and violent Chukaku-ha, or Middle Core Faction.

The radicals who claimed responsibility for the sabotage said they were expressing support for the militant Chiba Motormen’s Union, a 1,100-member union which had called a 24-hour walkout Nov. 28 to protest the refusal of the railroad management to discuss a plan to turn the deficit-ridden government system over to private hands.

The union disclaimed any links to the radicals.

The two railway workers belonged to a different union, the 200,000-member National Railway Workers’ Union, Nanya said.

The 24-hour motormen’s strike caused cancellation of 135 trains linking Tokyo and cities in neighboring Chiba prefecture, forcing an estimated 710,000 people to find other means of transportation.

The Mainichi Shimbun, a nationally circulated daily newspaper, reported Wednesday that JNR’s managemen bureau had decided to fire more than 100 workers for staging an illegal walkout. Japanese law bans strikes by workers in the public sector.

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