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Japanese Red Army leader Fusako Shigenobu released from prison

There was a media frenzy outside the prison as she was released. Her daughter, Mei, and some supporters were seen cheering and congratulating her. (ANJP)
There was a media frenzy outside the prison as she was released. Her daughter, Mei, and some supporters were seen cheering and congratulating her. (ANJP)
There was a media frenzy outside the prison as she was released. Her daughter, Mei, and some supporters were seen cheering and congratulating her. (ANJP)
There was a media frenzy outside the prison as she was released. Her daughter, Mei, and some supporters were seen cheering and congratulating her. (ANJP)
There was a media frenzy outside the prison as she was released. Her daughter, Mei, and some supporters were seen cheering and congratulating her. (ANJP)
There was a media frenzy outside the prison as she was released. Her daughter, Mei, and some supporters were seen cheering and congratulating her. (ANJP)
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28 May 2022 03:05:23 GMT9
28 May 2022 03:05:23 GMT9

Arab News Japan

TOKYO: Fusako Shigenobu, one of the leaders of the Japanese Red Army, was released from a Japanese prison on Saturday after serving a 20-year sentence for activities with the group, which is designated by the Japanese government as a “terrorist” organization.

After her arrest in Japan in 2001, Shigenobu was charged with using a forged passport, aiding another member of the Red Army in obtaining a forged passport, and attempted manslaughter by planning and commanding the 1974 occupation and hostage taking at the French embassy in The Hague. She pleaded guilty to the two lesser charges but not guilty to the embassy attack.

“I decided not to appeal against the decision because although I did not participate in the Hague incident, I still feel a responsibility as Japan Red Army leader,” Shigenobu said after her release.

In a press release held in a park near the prison, which officials called “East Japan Adult Medical Facility,” Shigenobu stated, “I have completed my 20-year prison sentence. I will now return to society and make a fresh start. I would like to once again take this occasion to apologize for unintentionally harming and inconveniencing those who were not directly involved in the political, military struggle of the Japanese Red Army.”

Shigenobu admitted that the Red Army used “any means necessary” to achieve their aims but showed some contrition in her statement: “Our armed struggle was wrong, but we did not think so at the time. We were unaware of the harm we were doing to innocent people by putting ourselves first in such a way of struggling. I am determined to make a fresh start today, feeling both sorry for what I have done and a desire to change Japanese society for the better. It may be presumptuous of me to say so, but I am grateful that, despite my mistakes, I have been able to live up to my desire to change the world for the better, a deeply held desire since my childhood.”

There was a media frenzy outside the prison as she was released. Her daughter, Mei, and some supporters were seen cheering and congratulating her. 

“I would like to express my gratitude and solidarity to my friends in Palestine, abroad, and in Japan, who have supported me, throughout my long imprisonment, with unflagging warm friendship and also as witnesses in my trial,” she said. She also thanked the doctors and medical staff who treated her for cancer.

But the fighter inside came out when she criticized former US President George W. Bush for resorting to war after 9/11 and accused the United States of “killing and torturing civilians” in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East. “We have turned the 21st century into a century of warfare and refugees,” she said.

Regarding Ukraine and Japanese politics, she commented: “I was watching the responses in the Japanese Parliament (Diet) to Ukraine and it worries me that only one opinion is allowed and that concerned me. You can dispute as much as you like but you can’t have just one opinion.”

Trucks belonging to Japanese extreme right-wing groups also came to the prison and loudly denounced Shigenobu, accusing her of being a communist, a terrorist and a traitor who doesn’t deserve to be Japanese and must leave the country. A heavy police presence managed the crowds and prevented possible clashes from erupting. 

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