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Takaya Shiomi, former radical faction leader, dies at 76

Takaya Shiomi (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Takaya Shiomi, a former chairman of the Red Army Faction who planned the hijacking of a Japan Airlines plane to Pyongyang in 1970, died Tuesday of heart failure at a Tokyo hospital, sources close to him said. He was 76.

    Shiomi, who was called "Japan's Lenin" after the Russian communist revolutionary and Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, formed and chaired the Red Army Faction in 1969.

    Shiomi, who was arrested on an unrelated charge shortly before the hijack took place, was sentenced to 18 years in jail for masterminding the hijack, as well as planning a terrorist attack on the prime minister's office and conducting armed training on a mountain with more than 50 members of his faction with the aim of overthrowing the government.

    After being released in 1989, Shiomi kept close ties with the hijackers living in Pyongyang. While landing a job as a parking lot manager, he wrote several books related to the Red Army Faction.

    In recent years, he joined an antibase movement in Okinawa and an antinuclear campaign. Shiomi held a living funeral in 2010.

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