The Insane Hijacking of Japan Airlines Flight 351

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The Insane Hijacking of Japan Airlines Flight 351

Tokyo, March, 1970. 31,000 feet up in the air. Japan Airlines Flight 351 was reaching its cruising altitude. It had left Tokyo’s Haneda Airport no more than ten minutes ago, and was set to land in Fukuoka in an hour’s time. This was to be a relatively short flight, a domestic affair, but little did the passengers and crew know it was going to be neither, as Japan Airlines Flight 351 was about to undergo a harrowing ordeal.

On the plane were 122 passengers: tourists, businessmen, first-year uni students, doctors on their way to medical conferences—people from all walks of life—and including a few notable individuals like the high-ranking Pepsi executive, the talented bass player from the up-and-coming rock band ‘Hadaka no Rariizu’, and the Roman Catholic priest from New York. This was a diverse mix, with people of varied experiences and professions, but nothing could have prepared them for what was to come.

At about 7:30 am, as the plane was flying over the southern face of Mount Fuji, a young Japanese man got up from his seat to make a special announcement:

He was hijacking the plane…