National / Crime & Legal

U.S. prepares to deport Japanese Red Army convict to Japan

Kyodo

A member of the Japanese Red Army convicted of a 1986 mortar attack on the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta has been transferred to a U.S. immigration facility for deportation after spending nearly two decades in federal prison, U.S. authorities said Friday.

Tsutomu Shirosaki, 67, fired two mortar shells at the embassy on May 14, 1986. He was arrested in Nepal in 1996 and later found guilty of attempted murder and other charges in U.S. federal court.

Shirosaki was released Friday from the low-security federal prison in Yazoo City, Mississippi, said Public Information Officer Marica Arp. He was originally sentenced to 30 years but was released early for good behavior.

According to Bryan Cox, spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Shirosaki is being held at an immigration facility. Privacy laws prevent the agency from releasing the location because Shirosaki did not consent to disclosure of his information.

Typically, immigration detainees in the region are sent to holding facilities in Louisiana.

Immigration proceedings are complicated and can take several months or more, depending on whether the person challenges their deportation in court.

Authorities in Japan plan to arrest Shirosaki once he arrives on charges that he also targeted the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta on May 14, 1986, sources familiar with the investigation said.

Shirosaki, who is from Toyama Prefecture, dropped out of Tokushima University before joining the leftist terrorist group.

In the 1970s, he was sentenced to 10 years for an attempted bank robbery but was freed early in 1977 along with other extremists in exchange for hostages the Japanese Red Army was holding after hijacking a Japan Airlines jetliner in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Fusako Shigenobu, 69, one of the founders of the Japanese Red Army, said the group was disbanded after her arrest in 2000. However, Japanese police believe it continues to operate because seven members remain at large.

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