And finally… concrete evidence

And finally... concrete evidence

Having lived a double life as a construction worker, a 70-year-old man revealed on his deathbed that he was, in fact, one of Japan’s most wanted fugitives.

Satoshi Kirishima evaded authorities for 49 years before his confession to being part of a 1970s terrorist group.

While he shared details of his family and his organisation that only he could have known, it wasn’t until last month that DNA evidence confirmed that the terminally ill patient was indeed Kirishima, part of a radical group responsible for a nine-month reign of terror in the mid-1970s that shook Japan.

His decision to turn himself in rekindled collective memories of a time when well-organised leftwing extremists posed a serious threat to the public, both in Japan and overseas.

As a member of the sasori (scorpion) unit of the East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front, Kirishima allegedly planted and detonated a homemade bomb that damaged a building in the Ginza neighbourhood of Tokyo district in April 1975. There were no casualties.

He was also suspected of involvement in four other attacks the same year targeting major Japanese corporations the group identified as “collaborators” in Japan’s militarist misadventures in the first half of the 20th century, The Guardian reports.

In the most notorious incident, the group planted a bomb at the Tokyo headquarters of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, killing eight people and injuring more than 360 others, apparently because the firm had supplied US forces during the Vietnam war. It remained Japan’s deadliest terrorist attack until the Aum Supreme Truth doomsday cult released sarin gas on the Tokyo subway in 1995.

Shortly before he died of stomach cancer in late January at the same hospital he had attended as an outpatient for about a year, Kirishima told staff: “I want to meet my death with my real name,” adding that he regretted his part in the attacks.

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