Shigenobu served fresh warrant over passports

Japanese Red Army leader Fusako Shigenobu was served a fresh arrest warrant Friday on suspicion of using forged passports to travel between Japan and China and other countries, police said.

A joint investigative squad of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Osaka Prefectural Police served the new arrest warrant on Shigenobu, 55, who has been indicted on charges stemming from the 1974 seizure of the French Embassy in The Hague.

According to investigations, Shigenobu obtained one forged passport around November 1997 and another around March this year and traveled between Japan and China and other countries between December 1997 and September this year, in violation of the Passport Law.

Shigenobu, founder of the Japanese Red Army and a key figure in a series of international terrorist incidents in the 1970s, was arrested outside a hotel in Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, on Nov. 8 after nearly 30 years on the run.

Paper linked to leader

Japanese public security authorities believe a copy of a document found on a Japanese Red Army member more than 25 years ago was written by the arrested leader of the group, Fusako Shigenobu, possibly providing a clue to the 1974 seizure of the French Embassy in The Hague, investigative sources said Friday.

French authorities confiscated the handwritten document from the terrorist group’s member shortly after he was arrested along with other members in Paris for entering France using forged passports in July 1974, two months before the siege.

The man, now 51 years old, left the Japanese Red Army in 1986. He has since served a prison sentence, and thus cannot be named under Japanese law.

The Japanese authorities compared the document with those they confiscated from the Osaka apartment where Shigenobu had been hiding out before her arrest and concluded they were likely written by the same person.

The document, written in Japanese, provides instructions on what the man should do in France after entering the country. He was reportedly sent to France to kidnap for ransom employees at Japanese trading houses operating in Europe, according to the sources.

Although it is not directly linked with the 1974 embassy seizure, it could be a key piece of evidence, because the Japanese Red Army is believed to have staged the French embassy siege to demand the release of this man.

In September 1974, three members of the group stormed the French Embassy in The Hague allegedly on Shigenobu’s orders and took the ambassador and 10 others hostage.

The radical group obtained the release of the man, along with 10 other members in exchange for the hostages.

Two of the three members who allegedly attacked the embassy — Haruo Wako, 52, and Jun Nishikawa, 50 — have been detained and extradited to Japan. They are now on trial and have said Shigenobu was involved in the Hague attack.

The other member, Junzo Okudaira, 51, is still at large.

During recent questioning by investigators, the man said it was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine that masterminded the embassy siege in The Hague, not Shigenobu.