1974 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries bombing
|1974 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries bombing|
The building where the bombing took place, pictured 2012
|Location||Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan|
|Date||August 30, 1974 |
12:45 am (UTC+9)
|Perpetrators||East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front|
The 1974 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries bombing (Japanese: 三菱重工爆破事件) was a terrorist bombing of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries headquarters in Tokyo, Japan on 30 August 1974, killing eight people and injuring 376 others. The bombing was committed by the East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front, a radical far-left anti-Japanese organization, against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for supplying the United States in the Vietnam War.
The 1974 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries bombing was the deadliest terrorist attack in Japan until the Tokyo subway sarin attack in 1995.
The East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front (Higashi Ajia Hannichi Busō Sensen, EAAJAF) was a Japanese far-left organization founded in 1972 and espoused a radical communist Anti-Japaneseism ideology influenced by the New Left movement with anarchist leanings. The EAAJAF viewed the Empire of Japan as the "perfect evil" and despised the Pacific war as an "aggressive war" committed by Japan. In 1971, the EAAJAF's predecessor organization had launched a campaign of non-fatal bombings against the Japanese state, especially targeting perceived symbols of Japanese imperialism, but in 1974 escalated its campaign to include the use of violence.
On 14 August 1974, the EAAJAF tried to blow up the bridge over which Emperor Hirohito's royal train was travelling, which they code-named the "Rainbow Operation", but this was aborted because a member was spotted shortly before it was to be put into action. The following day Mun Segwang, a Korean-Japanese member of Chongryon and a far-left militant organization tied to the EAAJAF, attempted to assassinate President Park Chung-hee of South Korea. Despite Mun's failure to kill Park, the attack soured the already fragile Japanese-Korean relations and encouraged the EAAJAF's Wolf cell into committing new terrorist bombings in sympathy with Mun. The EAAJAF targeted Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a large Japanese corporation which manufactured military weapons that were later used by the United States against North Vietnam in the Vietnam War in the early 1970s.
Members of the “Wolf” (Ōkami) cell of EAAJAF planted two powerful home-made time bombs (containing 45 kilograms of explosives) in a flower pot at the entrance of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries's head office block in the busy Marunouchi district of Tokyo. The EAAJAF gave a telephone warning eight minutes before the explosion, but it was dismissed as a joke, and another warning came four minutes later, but the telephone exchange still did not launch an evacuation procedure. One of the bombs failed to detonate but the other did, exploding at 12:45 p.m. (UTC+9), which was around lunchtime. Eight people died: five people were killed instantly (including two Mitsubishi employees) while another three died after being hospitalized shortly afterwards. An estimated 376 people were injured in the blast, with about 330 people brought to hospital, of which 116 were Mitsubishi employees. The explosion blasted all of the office block's glass up to eleven stories high, as well as glass from buildings opposite which included the headquarters of Mitsubishi Electric, and was loud enough to be heard from Shinjuku over 5 kilometers away..  Vehicles and some trees in the streets were also destroyed.
The bombing caused a lot more damage than the EAAJAF expected due to the lack of evacuation, causing an outrage among the media. One editor said “This incident is a most atrocious challenge to our society. Society itself was the target and the victim.” The Japan Times called for a “show of public wrath” against the terrorists. However, Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka as well as leaders of leftist parties remained silent about the incident. Nervousness among the Tokyo population increased following two other bombings carried out by the group in the city in 1974, with the police still not having made arrests.
The members of EAAJAF were arrested on May 19, 1975. In 1987, Masashi Daidoji and Toshiaki Masunaga were convicted and sentenced to death. Daidoji, leader of the former group's Wolf cell, said during court hearings that the bombing was "a mistake". In May 1999 while under death row, he apologized to the victims for the first time, saying "Our causing casualties is not something I can justify. I would like to apologize from the bottom of my heart." Daidoji died on May 24, 2017 at the Tokyo Detention Center.
The 1974 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries bombing was the deadliest terrorist attack defined by modern standards that had occurred in Japan at the time, and remained the deadliest for over two decades until the Tokyo subway sarin attack on 20 March 1995 which killed 12 people.
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