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Japan Air Lines Flight 404

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Title: Japan Air Lines Flight 404  
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Subject: 1973 in Japan, EgyptAir Flight 741, Aeroflot Flight 141 (1973), KLM Flight 861, Aeroméxico Flight 229
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Japan Air Lines Flight 404

Japan Air Lines Flight 404
Similar Boeing 747-200
Incident summary
Date July 23, 1973 (1973-07-23)
Summary Hijacking
Passengers 118 (plus 5 hijackers)
Crew 22
Fatalities 1 hijacker
Survivors 106 (including 4 hijackers)
Aircraft type Boeing 747-246B
Operator Japan Air Lines
Registration JA8109
Flight origin Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Netherlands
Stopover Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport,
Anchorage, Alaska, United States
Destination Haneda Airport, Tokyo, Japan

Japan Air Lines Flight 404 was a passenger flight which was hijacked by Palestinian and Japanese terrorists on July 23, 1973.

The flight departed Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport, Netherlands, on July 23, 1973, en route to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), Japan, via Anchorage International Airport, Alaska. The aircraft was a Boeing 747-246B, with 123 passengers and 22 crew members on board. The passenger complement included five terrorists, led by Osamu Maruoka, a member of the Japanese Red Army, and the other four were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine[1]

The flight was hijacked shortly after takeoff from Schiphol. In the course of the hijacking, a grenade carried by one of the skyjackers detonated, killing her and injuring the flight's chief purser. The lead hijacker almost immediately announced himself to air traffic control as El Kassar, hijacking the aircraft in the name of the Palestinian Liberation movement.[2] After several Middle Eastern governments refused to permit Flight 404 to land, the plane eventually touched down in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. After several days on the ground, the terrorists demanded the release of Kozo Okamoto, survivor of the JRA's attack on Tel Aviv's Lod Airport.[3]

After the Israeli government refused to release Okamoto, the hijackers flew the aircraft first to Damascus, Syria, and then to Benghazi, in Libya.[4] 89 hours after the hijacking began, the passengers and crew were released; the hijackers then blew up the aircraft.

Maruoka escaped and remained a fugitive until 1987 when he was arrested in Tokyo after entering Japan on a forged passport. Given a life sentence, he died in prison on 29 May 2011.[5]


  1. ^ "In the Spotlight: Japanese Red Army". Center for Defense Information. 
  2. ^ "The Skyjackers Strike Again". July 30, 1973. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ "The Skyjackers Strike Again, pg. 2". July 30, 1973. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  4. ^ Hijacking description at the Aviation Safety Network
  5. ^ Kyodo News, "Ex-Red Army member Maruoka dies", Japan Times, 30 May 2011, p. 2.

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