Fusaku Shigenobu, “Queen of the Japanese Red Army”, was released after twenty years in prison

With the release of Fusaku Shigenobu, on Friday, May 28, who was the face of the Japanese Red Army (Nihon Sekigon), a terrorist group that committed a series of deadly attacks around the world in the 1970s and 1980s, turning a page in the history of “Years of Lead” .

An elderly woman (76 years old), her face hidden by a mask, wearing a large black hat and a bouquet of flowers in her hands, left the Hachioji Medical Correctional Center in Tokyo with her daughter. Thirty former activists were present in addition to one hundred journalists. “Our struggle for half a century has caused the suffering of the innocent and for this I sincerely apologize,” She said.

Until her arrest in Osaka in November 2000, Fusaku Shigenobu was the terrorist wanted by Interpol, holed up somewhere in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. He was sentenced to twenty years of criminal imprisonment in February 2006, which is the prison to which the Japanese press “Queen of the Red Army” was the avatar of The funeral generation She was born in the shadow of the student movement that threw itself into the armed struggle. Drift also exemplified by the Italian Red Brigades and Division at Baader, in former West Germany.

“Our hopes turned into tragedy”

No longer is the sunken-cheeked gray-haired, boyish-haired woman who returned to Japan in 2000 in the hope of reviving the movement in the archipelago, a young student of mysterious beauty and a face framed by long hair whose portrait has appeared for three decades in Japanese police departments and immigration offices.

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Fusako Shigenobu, who herself did not participate in the attacks of the Red Army, was convicted during her trial for organizing the hostage-taking at the French Embassy in The Hague in 1974 – during which three policemen were seriously wounded. While the court admitted that she was not directly involved in this process, nor in any other, the court nevertheless considered that she was the instigator of it. “The central figure of the terrorist group”.

In her sentencing statement, she raised her fist in the direction of the dozens of sexual sympathizers who took their place in the courtroom. In a written letter, she nonetheless lamented: “In front of the judges, I felt the eyes of our victims weigh as heavy on me as my fallen comrades in the struggle.” In April 2001, it announced the dissolution of the small group. Then in a written interview withu Japan Times In 2017, she admitted: Our hopes for the revolution were not fulfilled and turned into a tragedy. »

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