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Police release age-adjusted drawings of wanted Japanese Red Army members

A poster newly created by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) shows age-adjusted drawings of Japanese Red Army members on international wanted lists. (Photo courtesy of the MPD)

TOKYO -- The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) on July 25 released a poster showing drawings of seven Japanese Red Army (JRA) members who are on international wanted lists for their alleged involvement in numerous terrorist and guerilla attacks, modified to reflect the ages of the suspects.

The JRA was established in the 1970s and the seven wanted members are now aged between 70 and 73. Espousing communism, the international terrorist group cooperated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and other groups, and was also involved in hijackings and embassy assaults. The group weakened after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and is said to have disbanded in 2001. The assault on Lod Airport (now Ben Gurion International Airport) shocked the world as a desperate attack by young Japanese nationals, and is said to have served as a forerunner to subsequent suicide bombings.

While the National Police Agency (NPA) has heretofore created posters of the wanted individuals and put them up across Japan, their photographs were taken between 1971 and 1998, making them outdated. Recently only a few snippets of information about the members had been reported to police each year. This prompted the MPD to create the new poster.

"It is possible that the members are hiding out in Japan. Through the new poster, we'd like to evoke people's memories from the time of the incidents and raise awareness once again among generations ignorant of the Japanese Red Army, thereby leading to their apprehension," said an official with the MPD's Public Security Bureau.

The seven members in the poster are: Kunio Bando, Norio Sasaki, Hisashi Matsuda, Junzo Okudaira, Ayako Daidoji, Akira Nihei and Kozo Okamoto.

The poster will be released on the MPD's website on July 31.

(Japanese original by Takayuki Kanamori, City News Department)

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