• Kyodo


The Osaka High Court on Thursday upheld a lower court-imposed 4 1/2-year prison term handed to a rightist who took a woman hostage at NHK’s Kyoto bureau in January 2002.

“He bears great criminal responsibility,” presiding Judge Yoshimichi Takikawa said in turning down an appeal filed by Ko Yamamoto, a former senior member of the rightwing group Nippon Minzoku Giyugun.

Yamamoto, 46, forced his way into the NHK bureau carrying a knife and plastic bottle of kerosene on Jan. 18, 2002, and held an NHK female employee hostage in a 4 1/2-hour standoff.

He barricaded himself in the first-floor lobby and demanded the station air his message criticizing the government’s response to the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.