Yuji Nishizawa, 29, admitted Monday before the Tokyo District Court that he hijacked an All Nippon Airways jumbo jet and stabbed its captain to death in July.
In his opening statements, Nishizawa’s lawyer argued that Nishizawa could not be held accountable for the charges, claiming he was insane at the time.
Nishizawa, of Tokyo, said he would “not mind” being sentenced to death. He is charged with murdering Capt. Naoyuki Nagashima, 51, and violating the Hijack Prevention Law, which allows for the death penalty if passengers or crew members are killed.
Nishizawa nodded his head in agreement as a prosecutor read out the indictment. “I am interned in a place like Auschwitz, and my only hope is the three judges and my attorneys,” he said.
His counsel argued that the defendant has a history of mental disorders and asked the court to conduct a psychiatric test.
But prosecutors said he should be held liable because he carefully plotted the scheme, including studying flight times and airport security.
According to prosecutors, Nishizawa sent several letters in June to Haneda airport and pointed out flaws in the security system, but he became angry when he realized the airport was ignoring his warnings.
To prove he was right and to show off his knowledge of aircraft, Nishizawa hijacked the Tokyo-Sapporo ANA jetliner, which had 517 passengers and crew members aboard, shortly after takeoff on July 23, prosecutors said.
When the pilot refused to give up the controls, Nishizawa stabbed him in the neck and shoulder, they said. No one else aboard was hurt.
Nishizawa briefly took over the controls before being overpowered by the copilot and off-duty ANA pilots who had entered the cockpit, it said. The plane at one point plunged to 300 meters after he took the controls but an off-duty pilot managed to land the aircraft.
Nishizawa reportedly had wanted to fly the jumbo jet under Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge as he had practiced flying in computer games.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.