One of those escaping the bombings has reportedly died after 49 years on the run
Long hair, youthful smile, thick, slightly askew glasses: for decades, the black-and-white photo of one of them Japan Most wanted fugitives have been a ubiquitous sight in police stations across the country. But after nearly 50 years, Satoshi Kirishima, wanted for deadly bombings carried out by left-wing extremists in the 1970s, died on Monday, days after local media reported he had finally been arrested.
Last week, the 70-year-old man revealed his identity after he admitted himself to the hospital under a false name to treat cancer, according to Japanese media.
The reports caused a sensation in Japan, where his youthful face became so widely known that it inspired viral Halloween costumes.
But police were still scrambling to conduct DNA tests when the man believed to be Kirishima died on Monday morning.
“Investigators have looked into and eliminated previous information, but there is a very high possibility that this person is actually Kirishima,” a police source told the Asahi newspaper.
Details emerge about how Kirishima hid in plain sight for decades.
Kirishima was born in Hiroshima in January 1954, and studied at the University of Tokyo, where he was drawn to far-left politics.
He joined the Anti-Japanese East Asian Armed Front, one of several armed groups active in the era along with the once-feared Japanese Red Army or West Germany’s Baader-Meinhof Group.
The extremist group is believed to have been behind several bombings against companies in the Japanese capital between 1972 and 1975. BBC reported. In 1974, eight people were killed in a single attack carried out by the group on the headquarters of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
He worked in three cells, with fanciful names: “Wolf”, “Earth Fangs”, and “Scorpion” – Kirishima’s outfit.
Along with Kirishima’s physical descriptions Posters required – 160 cm (5 ft 3) tall, “rather thick and large” lips, very short-sighted – Summary of his crime, which is the outline on Japanese National Police Agency website.
In April 1975, the young radical allegedly helped prepare a bomb that destroyed parts of a building in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza district. No one was killed.
He has been on the run since then.
“I want to meet my death with my real name.”
TV Asahi and The Japan Times mentioned He lived a double life for years, working for a building contractor in Fujisawa City in Kanagawa Prefecture, under the alias Hiroshi Uchida.
Reports said he was paid in cash and did not have health insurance or a driver’s license.
At the office where the man is said to work, a person who knows him told TV Asahi that the suspect had “lost a lot of weight” compared to the photo requested.
Reports stated that the man believed to be Kirishima began receiving treatment for stomach cancer at his own expense.
They added that at a hospital in Kamakura city, he finally admitted that he was 70-year-old Kirishima.
The Asahi newspaper reported that nine other members of the anti-Japanese East Asian Armed Front were arrested.
But two 75-year-old men remain on the run after being released in 1977 as part of a deal struck by the Japanese Red Army, which hijacked a Japan Airlines plane in Bangladesh.
Fusako Shigenobu, Japanese Red Army Foundation, He was released from prison in 2022 After completing a 20-year prison sentence for the 1974 embassy siege.
The Shigenobu group carried out armed attacks in support of the Palestinian cause during the 1970s and 1980s, including a mass shooting at Tel Aviv airport in 1972 that killed 24 people.
But Kirishima evaded justice, or so it seems.
He told staff at the hospital: “I want to meet my death with my real name.”