• Kyodo

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The Nara Summary Court sentenced a homeless man with an infamous relative Monday to a suspended one-year prison term for shoplifting at a grocery store here in June.

Takamichi Tamiya, 36, is the nephew of a Red Army Faction figure who commanded the hijacking of a Japan Airlines jetliner to North Korea in 1970 and later died there.

When he was arrested, Tamiya told police his name was Haruki Takayama because he did not want to be identified as a relative of the well-known hijacker Takamaro Tamiya. He revealed his real name when his trial started on Aug. 26.

“I felt bothered by the investigators and reporters,” the defendant said at his first trial session by way of explaining why he hid his identity.

Public prosecutors demanded a year in prison but Judge Masahiro Tanimura suspended the sentence for three years because Tamiya has shown remorse for his crime.

On June 12, Tamiya and a companion stole whiskey and other goods worth some 15,000 yen.

Tamiya changed jobs a number of times after dropping out of university and began living in Nara Park last spring, prosecutors said.

Takamaro Tamiya led a group of nine Japanese Red Army Faction hijackers who forced the JAL jet in March 1970 to fly from Japan to North Korea, where the international fugitives remained. He died in North Korea of illness in 1995.

Two other hijackers have also died, and four others are believed to be still in North Korea. The remaining two were arrested after returning to Japan.

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