Japanese Red Army member’s life sentence to stand

Kyodo

The Supreme Court has turned down an appeal by a former Japanese Red Army member who was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the 1977 hijacking of a Japan Airlines plane and the 1974 seizure of the French Embassy in The Hague.

Jun Nishikawa, 61, can still file an objection with the top court against the decision, but it would be limited to technicalities such as errors in wording. The decision is expected to become final and binding as the Supreme Court rarely accepts such objections.

Nishikawa was convicted of conspiring with other Japanese Red Army members to seize the French Embassy in The Hague in September 1974, where the group held hostages for about 100 hours while engaging police officers in a gunfight that wounded two of them. The French ambassador to the Netherlands was among the hostages.

According to lower court rulings, Nishikawa also conspired with other Japanese Red Army members to hijack a Japan Airlines plane over the Indian Ocean in September 1977, forcing it to land at Dhaka airport in Bangladesh, where the group demanded $6 million in ransom for passengers and crew members and forced Japanese authorities to release six detainees, including Red Army members.

Nishikawa was initially arrested and put on trial in 1975 for attempted murder over the seizure of the French Embassy, but the trial was interrupted after he was released as part of a deal to win the release of hostages being held by Japanese Red Army members at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur that year.

Nishikawa was eventually arrested when he returned to Japan.