1974 French Embassy attack in The Hague

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Japanese Red Army members hold the French embassy in The Hague. A helmed policeman stands at the entrance of the French Embassy, September 15, 1974.

The 1974 French Embassy attack in The Hague was an attack and siege on the French Embassy in The Hague in the Netherlands on Friday 13 September 1974. Three members of the Japanese Red Army (JRA) stormed the French Embassy in The Hague, on the orders of the leader of JRA Fusaku Shigenobu. The ambassador and ten other people were taken hostage. A few minutes later, three policemen entered the embassy and were immediately caught under fire. Two policemen were seriously injured due to the gunfire and the other opened fire.[1]

The Red Army demanded the release of Red Army member Yoshiaki Yamada (also known as Yatsuka Furuya), one million dollars and the use of a French aeroplane. Due to the position of the building in a central part of the city (Smidsplein), the Dutch authorities, in consultation with the French government, chose to negotiate for the release of the hostage instead of mounting a rescue operation.[2]

The siege and negotiations lasted five days. The French government agreed to free a jailed member of the JRA in return for the release of the hostages. The kidnappers also received 300,000 USD and a flight out of the Netherlands. The plane flew the hostage-takers to Aden, South Yemen, where they were rejected. It then brought them to Syria. Syria did not consider hostage taking for money revolutionary, and forced them to give up their ransom.

The Dutch Budget Day (Dutch: prinsjesdag), where the reigning monarch addresses Parliament and proposes the next year's budget, was scheduled for September 17. The traditional ride in the Golden Coach did not happen. Instead Queen Juliana was driven in a car, along a heavily protected route.[2]

Trial of attackers[edit]

Kazue Yoshimura was arrested by Peruvian DIRCOTE agents in Lima on May 25, 1996 after alleged contacts with members of the Maoist Shining Path (SP) insurgency.[3] The trace to her arrest was established after the 1995 Bucharest capture of Yukiko Ekita with a false Peruvian passport. She was supposedly intended on travelling to the coca-growing Huallaga Valley, the last stronghold of the diminished Peruvian Maoist insurgency as well as a drug-trafficking haven.[4] According to Peruvian Caretas magazine, she was aiming on helping establish a JRA presence in South America and may have even established contacts with Jun Nishikawa, another JRA operative later captured in Bolivia. Yoshimura was later deported to Japan by the government of Alberto Fujimori (a Japanese Peruvian), who stated that there was no proof against her despite the overwhelming intelligence data. The move was allegedly the result of pressure from the Japanese authorities. In December 1997, Yoshimura was sentenced to two and half years imprisonment for passport forgery.[5]

Two of the three members who allegedly attacked the embassy, Haruo Wakō and Nishikawa were detained and extradited to Japan, where they were imprisoned.[citation needed]

The other member, Junzō Okudaira, is still at large.[when?] Fusaku Shigenobu was captured by the Japanese police in November 8, 2000, after many years on the run. She was found guilty of her involvement in the attack and sentenced to 20 years of prison.[6][7]

In popular culture[edit]

This event was featured in the 2010 biopic miniseries Carlos about the terrorist Carlos the Jackal (Ilich Ramírez Sánchez).


  1. ^ "Shigenobu indicted in embassy attack". Japan Times. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Aflevering - Gijzeling Franse ambassade - Andere Tijden". Andere Tijden (in Dutch). Retrieved 2017-01-22. 
  3. ^ "PERU: SUSPECTED JAPANESE RED ARMY TERRORIST TO BE DEPORTED - AP Archive". www.aparchive.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  4. ^ "Peru to Send Red Army Guerrilla Suspect to Japan". 6 June 1996. Retrieved 26 October 2017 – via www.nytimes.com. 
  5. ^ "CARETAS HOME PAGE". www2.caretas.pe. Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  6. ^ "JURIST - Japanese Red Army founder sentenced to 20 years for French embassy attack". www.jurist.org. Retrieved 2017-01-22. 
  7. ^ "BBC News | ASIA-PACIFIC | Japanese Red Army leader charged". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-01-22. 


  1. http://www.geschiedenis24.nl/andere-tijden/afleveringen/2003-2004/Gijzeling-Franse-ambassade.html
  2. http://www.boekenwebsite.nl/geschiedenis/de-gijzeling
  3. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20001202a6.html