The militant revolutionary group that calls itself the Japanese Red Army is claiming responsibility for the hi-jacking of a Japan Air Lines aircraft over India on Wednesday (28 September).
The militant revolutionary group that calls itself the Japanese Red Army is claiming responsibility for the hi-jacking of a Japan Air Lines aircraft over India on Wednesday (28 September). The aircraft, with 142 passengers and a crew of 14, was taken to Dacca Airport in Bangladesh. The group is demanding the release of three of its own members at present held in Japanese prisons.
SYNOPSIS: The group, which advocates world revolution through armed struggle, was founded in the late 1960s. It has carried out militant operations in japan itself, including a ten-day siege of a house in Western Japan in February 1972. Police moved in to try to free a middle-aged housewife who was being held hostage.
Wednesday's statement by the guerrillas, issued in Beirut, spells out their political outlook. They call Emperor Hirohito "a war criminal" and Japan "an imperialist state". They speak of "fake international propaganda" praising Japan's economic miracle, while in their view Japan's recent history is one of "treason, dishonour, avidity and aggression". They say there is no alternative to revolutionary violence against the atrocities of courgnois states.
This siege cost the lives of two policemen and one civilian. Five Red Army members were arrested. Some of the group's violent activities have been carried out with the object of obtaining the release of colleagues already in prison.
With the attack on Lod Airport in Israel, in May 1972, the Japanese Red Army moved into the international field. Three of its members, who had landed there from Rome, opened fire with machine guns, and threw hand grenades among the crowds in the passenger hall. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine acknowledged that the three Japanese had come to help the Arat militants in their struggle against Israel. Two of them died in the attack, and the third was captured and sent to prison for life.
They left behind them 27 dead and more than 80 people injured. Since then, the Red Army's activities have included an unsuccessful attack on an oil refinery in Singapore, and the seizure of 50 hostages at the United States consulate in Kuala Lumpur. None of these caused any casualties.
The Red Army has twice before been involved in hijackings of Japanese airliners. This one was blown up at Benghazi, in the Libyan Jamahiriyah, in 1973. It was seized by one Red Army man and some Palestinians on a flight from Paris Tokyo.
The crew and passengers were released unharmed. The other hi-jack occurred three years earlier, when an aircraft on a domestic flight was forced to fly to North Korea.