Japan Airlines Flight 351

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Japan Airlines Flight 351
Boeing 727-89, Hapag-Lloyd AN1138807.jpg
The hijacked aircraft was later sold to Hapag-Lloyd Flug as D-AHLS.
Hijacking summary
Date March 31, 1970
Summary Hijacking
Site Japan
Passengers 122 (excluding the hijackers)
Crew 7
Fatalities 0
Survivors 129 (excluding the hijackers)
Aircraft type Boeing 727-89
Operator Japan Airlines
Registration JA8315 "YODOGO"
Flight origin Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
Destination Fukuoka Airport

Japan Airlines Flight 351 was hijacked by nine members of the Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction (a predecessor of the Japanese Red Army) on March 31, 1970, while flying from Tokyo to Fukuoka, in an incident usually referred to in Japanese as the Yodogo Hijacking (よど号ハイジャック事件, Yodogō Haijakku Jiken).

Hijacking[edit]

Armed with samurai swords and pipe bombs,[1] the hijackers took 129 hostages (122 passengers and seven crew members), later releasing them at Fukuoka Airport and Seoul's Kimpo Airport (after an abortive attempt to disguise the airport as North Korean). They then proceeded to Pyongyang's Mirim Airport, with Japan's Transport Minister now as hostage, where they surrendered to North Korean authorities, who offered the whole group asylum. The hijackers' motive was to defect to North Korea.[2] Using North Korea as a base, they thought they could promote rebellion in South Korea and elsewhere across East Asia.[citation needed]

Later events[edit]

The alleged mastermind of the hijacking, who did not take part in the actual operation, was Takaya Shiomi. Shiomi was arrested, convicted, and served 20 years in prison in Japan. After his release, suffering from poor health, Shiomi obtained a job as an attendant at a multi-level parking facility in Kiyose, Tokyo, where he was working as late as 2008.[3] He mentioned that they were supposed to go to Cuba in the first place.[1]

Moriaki Wakabayashi was an early member (bass player) in the long-running avant-garde rock band Les Rallizes Dénudés. In a March 2010 interview with Kyodo News, Wakabayashi stated that the hijacking was a "selfish and conceited" act. Wakabayashi added that he wished to return to Japan and was willing to face arrest and trial for his role in the hijacking.[4]

In 1985, Yasuhiro Shibata returned to Japan in secret to raise money for the group, was arrested, and was sentenced to five years in prison. Yoshimi Tanaka was arrested in Thailand with a large amount of counterfeit money and repatriated to Japan in March 2000, where he was sentenced; he died before its completion. However, the other hijackers remain at large, according to Japan's National Police Agency.[5]

The leader of the group, Takamaro Tamiya, died in 1995 and Yoshida Kintaro sometime before 1985. Takeshi Okamoto and his wife Kimiko Fukudome were probably killed trying to flee North Korea.[6] Takahiro Konishi, Shiro Akagi, Kimihuro Uomoto and Moriaki Wakabayashi still reside in North Korea; all except Takeshi Okamoto were confirmed to have been alive as of 2004 when they were interviewed by Kyodo News. In June 2004, the remaining hijackers made a request to North Korean authorities that they be allowed to return to Japan, even if they are to be punished for the hijacking.[5]

Notable passengers[edit]

The future Roman Catholic Archbishop and Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao was one of the passengers on the flight. Japanese pop singer Mita Akira was also on the flight, as was Shigeaki Hinohara. Hinohara, was one of the world's longest-serving physicians and educators.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Watts, Jonathan (September 9, 2002). "Japanese hijackers go home after 32 years on the run". The Guardian. London. 
  2. ^ 金日成 (1983). 統一戦線の理論と経験. チュチェ思想国際研究所. p. 29. 
  3. ^ Botting, Geoff, "From terror to parking cars", Japan Times, May 11, 2008, p. 9.
  4. ^ Kyodo News, "Ex-Red Army Faction Member Says Airplane Hijacking Was 'Selfish'", March 31, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Movements of the Japanese Red Army and the "Yodo-go" Group" (PDF), Japan: National Police Agency, 2003, archived from the original (PDF) on March 23, 2011, retrieved March 15, 2007 
  6. ^ Steinhoff, Patricia, "Kidnapped Japanese in North Korea, The New Left Connection", Journal of Japanese Studies, 30 (1): 123–142, doi:10.1353/jjs.2004.0035 . The suspicious deaths of Kintaro and Okamoto are referred to on pages 136 and 137. Her research is based on the journalistic work of Takazawa Koji.
  7. ^ Sugimoto, Hiroaki (August 8, 2013). "At 101, Japan's oldest clinician follows 70% rule for meals". The Asahi Shimbun. Tokyo. Archived from the original on May 17, 2015.