The drama surrounding the Japanese Red Army hijack of a Japan Airways DC-8 continued late into Friday night and Saturday morning (30th September-1 October) as a 'ransom' airliner took off from Tokyo bound for Bangladesh with six freed prisoners and six million US dollars on board.
The drama surrounding the Japanese Red Army hijack of a Japan Airways DC-8 continued late into Friday night and Saturday morning (30th September-1 October) as a 'ransom' airliner took off from Tokyo bound for Bangladesh with six freed prisoners and six million US dollars on board. The original demands of the five guerrillas who seized the aircraft on a flight over India with 151 other passengers on board was for nine prisoners jailed in Japan. But the Japanese government says three of them did not want to be released.
SYNOPSIS: Between Wednesday and Friday (September 28 and 30) nine of the jailed hostages were released form the aircraft, standing on the tarmac at Dacca airport, near the Bangladesh capital. The hijackers had set up explosives on the flight deck, and one of them reminded authorities of the 27 deaths in the 1972 Israeli Lydda Airport attack involving Red Army members.
Meanwhile, in Tokyo medical supplies were loaded on board the ransom aircraft as part of the three tonnes of medicine, food and clothing that were being flown to Dacca with the prisoners and ransom money. Relations and friends of the hostages were anxiously watching developments in the drama, while the Japanese Government explained that it decided to give in to the guerrillas demands for the sake of human life. Among the prisoners the hijackers demanded the release of were a convicted bank robber, an alleged bank raider, four alleged bombers, tow murderers, and an alleged guerrilla charged with taking part in attacks on embassies in Holland and Malaysia.
Most of the prisoners involved were under thirty years old. One of them, who agreed to be released and flown to Bangladesh, was said by Japanese police to be capable of killing on impulse at any time. The decision to release them came after at least two emergency session by the Japanese Government cabinet - whose Chief Secretary said afterwards that' human life is heavier than the earth'. The final destination of the freed prisoners and the hijackers was not known.
Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, who presided over the emergency cabinet meetings, has been reluctant to publicly comment on the incident. But he and his colleagues, according to news reports from Tokyo, were taking into account seriousness of Red Army threats from the past experiences with them.