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The BBC's Charles Scanlon
"Fusako Shigenobu has been on the most wanted list since the early 1970s"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 8 November, 2000, 13:16 GMT
Japanese Red Army leader arrested
Fusako Shigenobu at Tokyo train station with police escort
Fusako Shigenobu was taken to Tokyo for questioning
The leader of the radical Japanese Red Army, once one of the world's most feared guerrilla groups, has been captured after nearly three decades on the run.

Fusako Shigenobu, 55, was seized outside a hotel in Takatsuki, near Osaka in western Japan, and taken to Tokyo for questioning.

Japanese Red Army
Founded c. 1970
Stated goals: Overthrow Japanese government and monarchy, help foment world revolution
Some members thought to have joined revolutionary groups in Peru and Colombia
The Japanese Red Army became known in the 1970s for a series of horrifying attacks, including plane hijackings and hostage-takings.

The most notorious was the machine gun and grenade attack at Israel's Lod Airport (now Ben Gurion) in 1972, which left 26 dead and 78 injured.

Ms Shigenobu was also on an international wanted list for the 1974 storming of the French embassy in The Hague in which the ambassador was taken hostage.

Her arrest inside Japan came as a surprise because she was believed to be living in Lebanon where her group had based itself in the 1970s.

Shigenobu: On the run for nearly 30 years
Japanese media reports said she had been living in Osaka since mid-July and using a friend's name as an alias.

Police said she had checked into the Takatsuki hotel under a man's name and had tried to disguise herself.

As police took her off to Tokyo she shouted at reporters: "I am determined fight on."


The Red Army grew out of the 1960s anti-Vietnam War movement and believed in the destruction of capitalism.

In 1971 the group reorganised itself to fight for Arab causes and Ms Shigenobu travelled to Lebanon where she linked up with Palestinian extremists.

Fusako Shigenobu
Shigenobu, pictured in 1985, operated out of Lebanon
Earlier this year, Tokyo police arrested four other Red Army members after they were deported from Lebanon.

Another Red Army faction hijacked a Japan Airlines (JAL) plane in 1970, forcing it to fly to the North Korean capital Pyongyang.

Four of the hijackers are still believed to be in North Korea which granted them asylum.

The issue is one of several issues hindering the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Pyongyang and Tokyo.

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See also:

08 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Red Army's reign of terror
28 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Red Army hijack suspect returns
18 Mar 00 | Middle East
Red Army guerrillas arrested
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