Japanese fugitive dies after deathbed confession

Published February 28, 2024
This picture taken on January 26, 2024 in a train station of Chuo district in Tokyo shows a poster of Satoshi Kirishima, who was a member of The East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front, a radical leftist organization responsible for bombing attacks in Japan’s capital in the 1970s. — AFP
This picture taken on January 26, 2024 in a train station of Chuo district in Tokyo shows a poster of Satoshi Kirishima, who was a member of The East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front, a radical leftist organization responsible for bombing attacks in Japan’s capital in the 1970s. — AFP

TOKYO: DNA analysis has confirmed that a 70-year-old man who confessed on his hospital deathbed last month to being one of Japan’s most-wanted fugitives was indeed the suspect, police said on Tuesday.

Satoshi Kirishima, a former member of a Japanese radical leftist group behind deadly bomb attacks in the 1970s, was wanted for nearly 50 years, with his bespectacled, smiling mugshots almost omnipresent outside police stations across Japan.

The saga took a sudden twist last month when a terminally ill man hospitalised near Tokyo declared on his deathbed that he was Kirishima — prompting hospital staff to alert police — only to die a few days later.

Through subsequent DNA analysis, “the person who died at the hospital on January 29 was confirmed to be Satoshi Kirishima himself”, a Tokyo police spokesman said.

With his identity now verified, “we sent five case files (involving him) to the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office today”, the spokesman said.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2024

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