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Movements of the Japanese Red Army and the "Yodo-go" Group
I. Movements of the Japanese Red Army

1. History of Their Activities

The Japanese Red Army (JRA) is an international terrorist organization that was established by a faction of an extremist group who committed felonious crimes, such as attacks on police stations, bank raids, and the like in Japan with the objective of revolutionizing the country based on Marxist-Leninist ideology, and to ultimately unify the world under communism. It was formed abroad after the members fled from Japan in search of a base for their revolutionary activities while advocating the "Plan to Construct International Bases."

Through contact with the "Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine" , which was committing frequent terrorist attacks at the time, Fusako Shigenobu and other leading members of the JRA established their activity base in the Middle East. In May 1972, three of its members randomly fired automatic rifles at the Tel Aviv Lod Airport in Israel (now Ben Gurion International Airport), killing 24 people and leaving 76 others with serious or minor injuries. Since this incident, which is known as the "Tel Aviv Lod Airport Massacre," JRA members have committed a series of atrocious crimes around the world, such as seizing foreign embassies and highjacking aircraft. Among these incidents in particular, the Government of Japan was forced to release the JRA members imprisoned or detained on the occasion of the "Kuala Lumpur Incident" in August 1975, an incident in which the US Embassy and other facilities in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia were occupied by their members, as well as the "Dacca Incident" in September 1977 in which a Japan Airlines aircraft leaving Paris for Tokyo was highjacked.

2. A String of the Members Arrested

The police made a string of arrests of the JRA members in Romania, Peru, Bolivia, and other countries by enhancing the coordination among the law enforcement and intelligence agencies of the relevant countries in pursuing the members across the world. Furthermore, five JRA members who were hiding in Lebanon, which has long been their activity base, were arrested in February 1997. Aside from Kozo Okamoto, who was granted political asylum in Lebanon, the remaining four members were sentenced to deportation in March 2000, and the police arrested and imprisoned the four on their return to Japan.

Arrest and imprisonment of four JRA members
(March 2000) (Photo: Kyodo Press)
3. The Arrest of Top Executive Fusako Shigenobu and the Declaration to Dissolve the Japanese Red Army

The JRA positioned the Asian region, which is both geographically and culturally closer to Japan, as a new strategic base to consolidate its domestic organization and as an international battle front after having lost their former activity base of Lebanon. Amidst this situation, in November 2000 the police arrested Fusako Shigenobu, the top executive of the JRA, who was taking cover in Osaka.

Fusako Shigenobu proclaimed the disbanding of the JRA from behind bars in April 2001. The JRA confirmed this in the "May 30 Declaration (a statement that the JRA issues every year around May 30 in commemoration of the 'Tel Aviv Lod Airport Massacre')" issued in May of the same year.

However, it still gives high praise to the "Tel Aviv Lod Airport Massacre" in this declaration. Furthermore, the members established a new organization "Rentai" (later renamed to "Movement "Rentai"") in December of the same year, and it has started its operations and activities as a virtual successor organization to the JRA.

4. Police Measures

With the arrest of Fusako Shigenobu, the JRA is now placing the restructuring of its organization and the construction of new activity bases as its top priorities. Therefore, the prospect of its members to resume terrorist activities is low at this point relatively speaking. Never theless, its nature as a terrorist organization is unchanged, and therefore the danger remains. The police are engaging in efforts for the early discovery and arrest of the seven JRA fugitives, as well as striving to contain their activities.

The JRA members currently placed on the international wanted list by Japan

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