Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda has said he agreed to demands by the hijackers of the Japanese airliner forced to land in Bangladesh "because life is heavier than the earth".
Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda has said he agreed to demands by the hijackers of the Japanese airliner forced to land in Bangladesh "because life is heavier than the earth". He was speaking in Tokyo, the Japanese capital, on Thursday (29 September) after an emergency dawn meeting of his Cabinet to discuss the hijackers' demands - which included the release of nine prisoners held in Japan, and a six million U.S dollar ransom. More than 150 people were abroad the aircraft.
SYNOPSIS: Chief Cabinet Secretary Sunao Sonada announced the Government's decision after the emergency meeting - conducted by Mr. Fukuda, who refused to comment in detail to newsmen afterwards.
The crisis was set off by the hijacking of a Japanese Air Lines DC-8 by five members of the Japanese Red Army. They seized the aircraft on a scheduled flight from India to Thailand and landed in Dacca, the Bangladesh capital, after nearly running out of fuel. Among the prisoners they demanded the release were a convicted bank robber, an alleged bank robber, four alleged bombers, two murderers, and an alleged terrorist charged with taking part on embassy attacks in Holland and Malaysia. Most of them are under 30 years old. Six of the nine were being held in jails in and around Tokyo when the hijack took place, and all but one of them agreed to taking part in their proposed release. The ninth - one of the oldest of the group at 34 - refused to be freed.
The Japanese Red Army, which it says was formed to provoke world revolution through armed force, emerged in 1969 as the most militant faction of the new Japanese left wing. The Red Army and its allies opposed the country's social order and the Japanese Communist Party's policy of non-violence and independence from the Soviet Union and China. Since than, it's been involved in spectacular raids in several countries, including a raid on Israel's Lod airport five years ago in which 27 people died and more than 80 were injured.