Japan Red Army woman held after 3 decades on run

After nearly three decades on the run, the leader of the extreme leftist Japanese Red Army, once one of the world's most feared guerilla groups, was captured on on Wednesday.

Fusako Shigenobu, 55, was seized outside a hotel in the city of Takatsuki in western Japan and arrested for her alleged role in the group's violent crimes, police.

She would taken to Tokyo later in the day for questioning, a police official said.

Shigenobu's arrest inside Japan came as a surprise because she had evaded international law enforcement authorities for nearly 30 years and had been believed to be living in Lebanon.

She had been on the international wanted list for allegedly masterminding the Japanese Red Army's 1974 attack on the French Embassy in The Hague, in which it took the French ambassador hostage in return for the release of one imprisoned comrade.

The Japanese Red Army was born out of the 1960s anti-Vietnam War movement and advocated the destruction of capitalism. Its members fought at home against the presence of U.S. forces in Japan and then in the early 1970s took their struggle overseas.

VIOLENT ANTI-CAPITALISM

Shigenobu, originally a member of the Red Army Faction group, travelled to Lebanon in 1971 and founded her Japanese Red Army, which linked up with Palestinian extremists to become an implacable foe of Israel.

The Japanese Red Army became known in the 1970s for a series of deadly and spectacular attacks, ranging from plane hijackings to hostage taking.

Among those was the 1972 attack on Israel's Lod airport in which 26 people, including two Red Army members, were killed in a hail of machine-gun fire and grenade blasts.

Last May, Tokyo police arrested four Red Army members who allegedly took part in various hijackings, embassy seizures and other crimes after they were deported from Lebanon and put on a plane to Tokyo.

However, Lebanon granted political asylum to another member, Kozo Okamoto, for his role in operations against IsraelOkamoto, who was arrested for the attack on Lod airport and imprisoned in Israel, had been freed in 1985 in an exchange of prisoners between Israeli and Palestinian forces.

The Japanese Red Army had its roots in another extreme leftist group, the Red Army Faction.

Members of that group were allegedly responsible for hijacking a Japan Airlines (JAL) plane on a domestic flight and forcing it to fly to Pyongyang in March 1970, the first hijacking in Japan's aviation history.

The suspects gained political asylum in North Korea and their extradition to Japan has been one issue hindering normalisation of ties between Tokyo and Pyongyang.

Fusako Shigenobu, 55, was seized outside a hotel in the city of Takatsuki in western Japan and arrested for her alleged role in the group's violent crimes, police.

She would taken to Tokyo later in the day for questioning, a police official said.

Shigenobu's arrest inside Japan came as a surprise because she had evaded international law enforcement authorities for nearly 30 years and had been believed to be living in Lebanon.

She had been on the international wanted list for allegedly masterminding the Japanese Red Army's 1974 attack on the French Embassy in The Hague, in which it took the French ambassador hostage in return for the release of one imprisoned comrade.

The Japanese Red Army was born out of the 1960s anti-Vietnam War movement and advocated the destruction of capitalism. Its members fought at home against the presence of U.S. forces in Japan and then in the early 1970s took their struggle overseas.

VIOLENT ANTI-CAPITALISM

Shigenobu, originally a member of the Red Army Faction group, travelled to Lebanon in 1971 and founded her Japanese Red Army, which linked up with Palestinian extremists to become an implacable foe of Israel.

The Japanese Red Army became known in the 1970s for a series of deadly and spectacular attacks, ranging from plane hijackings to hostage taking.

Among those was the 1972 attack on Israel's Lod airport in which 26 people, including two Red Army members, were killed in a hail of machine-gun fire and grenade blasts.

Last May, Tokyo police arrested four Red Army members who allegedly took part in various hijackings, embassy seizures and other crimes after they were deported from Lebanon and put on a plane to Tokyo.

However, Lebanon granted political asylum to another member, Kozo Okamoto, for his role in operations against IsraelOkamoto, who was arrested for the attack on Lod airport and imprisoned in Israel, had been freed in 1985 in an exchange of prisoners between Israeli and Palestinian forces.

The Japanese Red Army had its roots in another extreme leftist group, the Red Army Faction.

Members of that group were allegedly responsible for hijacking a Japan Airlines (JAL) plane on a domestic flight and forcing it to fly to Pyongyang in March 1970, the first hijacking in Japan's aviation history.

The suspects gained political asylum in North Korea and their extradition to Japan has been one issue hindering normalisation of ties between Tokyo and Pyongyang.

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