Palestinian NGOs laud release of Japan terror head with Lod massacre role

Known as the "empress of terror" Fusako Shigenobu co-founded the Japanese Red Army (JRA) terrorist group and worked with the PFLP.

 Leftist Japanese Red Army leader Fusako Shigenobu (C), surrounded by police, raises handcuffed hands upon arrival at Tokyo Station following her arrest in Osaka, western Japan November 8, 2000. Three decades of dodging international law enforcement authorities came to an end for the Red Army leader (photo credit: REUTERS)
Leftist Japanese Red Army leader Fusako Shigenobu (C), surrounded by police, raises handcuffed hands upon arrival at Tokyo Station following her arrest in Osaka, western Japan November 8, 2000. Three decades of dodging international law enforcement authorities came to an end for the Red Army leader
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian NGOs and activists celebrated the end of the prison term of "empress of terror" Fusako Shigenobu on Saturday, the co-founder of the Japanese Red Army (JRA) terrorist organization who coordinated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to commit the 1972 Lod Airport Massacre which killed 26 and injured dozens.

"Human rights" groups praise arch-terrorist

"Fusako Shigenobu is finally free!" wrote the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), the celebration coming just a day before the Lod terrorist attack's anniversary. "Palestinians everywhere salute and celebrate Fusako Shigenobu for her extraordinary dedication to our national struggle, and her friendship with our people."

The Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network organized a livestream to celebrate her release with Shigenobu's daughter May. The NGO said in a press release that it saluted her, describing her as a "revolutionary" and "political prisoner" who had been unjustly imprisoned. Brighton BDS called her story "amazing."

Upon her release, Shigenobu and her daughter dressed in Palestinian keffiyehs, as can be seen in a video published by May Shigenobu. She had been involved with Palestinian terrorist groups for decades and was the founder of the JRA group that carried out the Lod attack.

"Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest support and solidarity to Fusako Shigenobu, internationalist prisoner of the Palestinian liberation struggle. She has been jailed in Japan for over 21 years as a political prisoner for her role as a founder of the revolutionary organization the Japanese Red Army (JRA), which struggled for a revolutionary future for Japan as well as working hand in hand with Palestinian revolutionaries in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for a liberated Palestine."

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

Lod Airpot massacre

"It's amazing seeing the amount of cognitive dissonance and apologism for literal terrorism from far-left activists," tweeted Oliver Jia, a Kyoto-based researcher on Japan-DPRK relations. "I know it's a radical stance to take, but maybe we shouldn't glorify violent mass murderers. Just throwing that out there."

Three Japanese members of the Trotskyite communist JRA, trained by the Marxist-Leninist PFLP, launched an attack at Lod International Airport in 1972, throwing grenades and firing with automatic rifles, according to Yoshihiro Kuriyama and Patricia Steinhoff in the scholarly journal Asian Survey.  Eight Israelis, 17 Puerto Rican Christian pilgrims, and a Canadian citizen were killed. Among the dead included prominent scientist Aharon Katzir.

Katzir was the elder brother of Ephraim Katzir, who became the President of Israel a year later. Samidoun claimed that Katzir was the target of the attack, and asserted that civilians were killed in crossfire with Israeli security forces — Shifting blame to Israel for their deaths.

Two terrorists died in the attack, the sole surviving JRA member being Kozo Okamoto. For Asian Survey, Steinhoff interviewed Okamoto, who said that while there was a personal concern for the Palestinian movement, the operation was conducted primarily for the Trosksyite notion of world revolution. He said in his trial that the intent was to target passengers, visitors, and police.

He served over a decade in prison before being released in a prisoner exchange. According to the Associated Press, he is reportedly still in Lebanon and wanted by Japanese authorities.

 Palestinian militants from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) take part in a military show to celebrate the 47th anniversary of the group's founding, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 11, 2014.  (credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA) Palestinian militants from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) take part in a military show to celebrate the 47th anniversary of the group's founding, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 11, 2014. (credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

Fusako Shigenobu

Shigenobu fought alongside the PFLP, spending time in Lebanon and the Middle East for decades, eventually founding her Red Army offshoot.

Shigenobu went into hiding after the Lod massacre and was arrested in 2000. A year after she was arrested, she dissolved the JRA, the AP reported.

"When Shigenobu was arrested for her revolutionary work, she told onlooking crowds, 'I’ll fight on!' Even when on trial, she never wavered in her principled commitment to anti-imperialism and the Palestinian struggle," said PYM, 

However, Shigenobu has expressed remorse for her terrorism, according to the AP saying when she was released, “I have hurt innocent people I did not know by putting our struggles first. Although those were different times, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize deeply.”