Friday, July 23, 1999 Published at 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK
Japanese hijacker kills pilot
All passengers left the plane unhurt after the mid-air ordeal
The pilot of an All Nippon Airways plane has died from stab wounds after overcoming a hijacker.
All the other 503 passengers and 14 crew on board flight ANA61 were safe.
The Boeing 747 was flying from Tokyo's Haneda airport to the northern city of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido.
About 25 minutes after take-off, a 28-year-old Japanese man, identified by police as unemployed Yuji Nishizawa, started screaming at other passengers and cabin crew.
Armed with a long knife he barged into the cockpit and - according to one report - demanded to be taken to Yokota, a US military airbase in western Tokyo.
One report said that the hijacker at one stage took the controls himself, but this was not confirmed by the authorities.
During the struggle, the pilot was repeatedly stabbed in the neck and shoulder by the hijacker. He was badly injured and died from his wounds soon after.
The pilot, Naoyuki Nagashima, 51, was pronounced dead by a doctor on board shortly after the plane landed in Tokyo one hour and 20 minutes after taking off.
Prime minister's 'regret'
"I can only express my deep regret," he added.
"We have to examine how the hijacker could enter the cockpit and what measures were then taken."
According to Japanese officials, it is the first time in Japan that someone has been killed in connection with a plane hijack.
Under Japanese law, a hijacking which results in a fatality carries a maximum sentence of the death penalty.