A Japanese Red Army Terrorist Has Died
A Look Back at Haruo Wako and the Japanese Red Army
On November 4, 2023, former Japanese Red Army (JRA) terrorist Haruo Wako died at the age of 75 at the Osaka Medical Prison.
He was confined there after being transferred from the Tokushima Prison, and sentenced to life back in 2005. In 2007, the Tokyo High Court upheld Wako’s sentence. As of November 2023, prison officials have not disclosed the cause of death.
Wako, a native of Miyagi Prefecture, was known for participating in JRA-led attacks on the French Embassy in the Netherlands in 1974 and in 1975 on the AIA building in Kuala Lumpur, which housed the American and Swedish embassies at the time. In both incidents, Wako shot at responding police officers.
Wako later fled to Lebanon, but he was detained with other JRA terrorists in 1997 for having forged passports to enter the country. He was later deported to Jordan in 2000 before he was handed over to Japanese officials to be tried in Tokyo on terrorism charges. In April 2001, the JRA was disbanded by Fusako Shigenobu, who said that changes in Japan and overseas should be pursued through legal means. However, the National Police Agency claims that pro-JRA sympathizers have raised a new group known as the Rentai Movement to continue violent means to pursue communism in Japan.
As of 2023, seven JRA terrorists were still wanted by the NPA. They consist of Kunio Bando, Norio Sasaki, Hisashi Matsuda, Junzo Okudaira, Ayako Daidouji, Akira Nihei, and Kozo Okamoto.