Japanese embassies on alert after arrests

Fearing retaliation for the weekend arrests in Lebanon of five suspected members of the Red Army, Japanese embassies were ordered on alert, Foreign Ministry officials said in Tokyo.

The suspects, four men and a woman, were detained in weekend raids by Lebanese State Security agents on hideouts in Beirut. The National Police Agency has “almost confirmed” the identities of three of the five as Kozo Okamoto, 49, Mariko Yamamoto, 56, and Masao Adachi, 57, police sources said Feb. 20. The NPA believes the other two are Hisashi Matsuda, 48, and Kazuo Tohira, 44. All five are on international wanted lists.

Lebanese security and government officials who confirmed the arrests in Beirut refused to disclose details on the suspects until they have positive identifications. They promised a full account within a day or two.

Three Japanese diplomats have met with Lebanese justice officials in Beirut, apparently to provide information on Red Army fugitives who are wanted by Japan. The Japanese government has also sent several investigators to assist in the case.

Fingerprints and documents related to the suspects are being used, Lebanese security officials said. The suspects may have been moving around Lebanon with false identity papers, the officials said.