a reactionary anticommunist provocation in 1949-50 in Japan directed against 20 activists of the trade union of the state railroad.
The pretext for the provocation was a train crash on Aug. 17, 1949, on the stretch between Matsukawa and Kanayagawa stations (Tohoku District); the crash was caused by the state of disrepair of the tracks. The Japanese authorities declared, without any evidence whatsoever, that the crash had been caused by members of the Communist Party and the trade union of the state railroad. At a trial held in December 1950, five railroad men were sentenced to death, five to life imprisonment, and the others to various terms of hard labor. This hideous sentence imposed on innocent people aroused a powerful campaign of protest in the country. In September 1963, after 14 years of struggle by the democratic forces and five reviews of the case, all the defendants were declared not guilty.