• Kyodo


The Japanese Embassy in Beijing on Monday issued travel documents for entry into Japan to three daughters of former Red Army Faction members who were granted political asylum in North Korea after they hijacked a Japan Airlines plane in 1970, a leader of a support group for them said.

Three daughters of former Red Army Faction members have been issued documents (photocopied above) in Beijing that will let them enter Japan.

Yukio Yamanaka said he received the documents at the embassy and faxed copies to the daughters in North Korea.

They are the 22-year-old daughter of Yoshimi Tanaka, 52; the 23-year-old daughter of Takahiro Konishi, 56; and the 22-year-old daughter of Takamaro Tamiya, the deceased leader of the hijackers.

The three were born and raised in North Korea after their mothers moved to the North in the late 1970s to marry the hijackers. Last October, they announced their wish to go to Japan, and in December Yamanaka filed applications for the documents at the embassy.

Tamiya’s daughter told Kyodo News from North Korea that she is very excited at the development, saying, “I can’t believe I’m going to Japan. I have concerns, but I’ll go to Japan.”

The three women placed a telephone call Monday to a gathering of supporters in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward to express their delight at the news.

Tamiya’s daughter said she was looking forward to visiting Tokyo Disneyland and shopping at Uniqlo.

Konishi’s daughter said that, while she was very happy about receiving the documents, she was nervous about what her life in Japan might be like.

Yamanaka said he will go to Pyongyang on May 12 with the travel documents and leave for Japan via Beijing with the three May 15.

Japan has no diplomatic relations with North Korea.

Four of the nine hijackers are still living in Pyongyang, three have died and two have returned to Japan.

Among the two who are now in Japan is Tanaka, who is facing trial since being sent back to Japan from Bangkok in last June. The other was a juvenile when he hijacked the plane. He was arrested in 1988 and served a five-year prison sentence.

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