Two daughters of one of the Japanese hijackers who defected to North Korea are seeking to obtain Japanese citizenship, sources close to them said Monday.
A lawyer for the two daughters — aged 24 and 20 — of the late Takeshi Okamoto have recently asked the Tokyo Family Court for an inquiry into their claims to citizenship, submitting to the court their birth certificates issued by a North Korean hospital, the sources said.
Of the 20 children born to the Japanese hijackers, only the two daughters of Okamoto have not received Japanese citizenship.
Three daughters of three of the hijackers traveled from North Korea to Japan in May to live permanently.
In March 1970, nine members of the Red Army Faction, a radical group known as “Sekigunha” in Japan, hijacked a Japan Airlines plane with 138 passengers and crew on board en route from Tokyo to Fukuoka and forced it to fly to Pyongyang.
Okamoto apparently married a Japanese woman after defecting in North Korea with other hijackers, but his whereabouts became unknown around 1982.
Hijackers say Okamoto and his wife died in a landslide in 1988. However, there have been reports that Okamoto may have been confined to a labor camp.
Okamoto is still on an international wanted list because his family has not reported his death to authorities.
Takeshi Okamoto is the elder brother of Kozo Okamoto, 53, a member of the Japanese Red Army terrorist team that staged the 1972 attack at Tel Aviv’s Lod airport, which left 25 people dead and 80 others injured.
Kozo Okamoto was given political asylum in Lebanon last year.
The Japanese Red Army is a breakaway group from the Red Army Faction.
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