Japan Airlines Flight 472 (1977)

Japan Airlines Flight 472 was an aircraft hijacking carried out by the Japanese Red Army (JRA) on 28 September 1977.

Japan Airlines Flight 472
Douglas DC-8-62, Japan Airlines (JAL) JP6862131.jpg
JA8033, the aircraft involved in the hijacking, at Honolulu International Airport in 1969
Date28 September 1977
SiteDhaka International Airport, Bangladesh
Aircraft typeDouglas DC-8-62[1]
OperatorJapan Airlines
Flight originCharles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France
StopoverSantacruz Airport, Bombay, India
DestinationTokyo International Airport, Tokyo, Japan
Passengers142 (including 5 hijackers)
Survivors156 (all)


The Douglas DC-8, en route from Paris to Haneda Airport in Tokyo with 156 people on board, stopped in Bombay, India. Shortly after taking off from Bombay, five armed JRA members, led by Osamu Maruoka, hijacked the aircraft and ordered it flown to Dhaka, Bangladesh. At Dhaka, the hijackers took the passengers and crew hostage, demanding US$6 million and the release of nine imprisoned JRA members.

On 1 October Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda announced that the Japanese government would accept the hijackers' demands, on the principle that "the life of a single person outweighs the earth." Six of the imprisoned JRA members were then released.[1]

A chartered Japan Airlines flight carried the money and the six released JRA members to Dhaka, where the exchange took place on 2 October. The hijackers released 118 passengers and crew members. On 3 October, they flew to Kuwait City and Damascus, where they released eleven more hostages. Finally, the aircraft was flown to Algeria, where it was impounded by authorities and the remaining hostages were freed.[1]

List of hijackers and released prisonersEdit

Fugitives’ portraits from the official website of The Metropolitan police departments (in Japanese)
  Bando in c. 1987
  Sasaki in c. 1998
  Okudaira in c. 1998
  Daidōji in c. 1994
  Nihei in 1976


Released prisonersEdit


The incident contrasted Europe and the United States' approach of non-negotiation with terrorists to Japan's approach of appeasing terrorists if necessary. Shortly after the incident, Japan's National Police Agency established a Special Assault Team to deal with future acts of terrorism. Several of the JRA terrorists involved in the hijacking have yet to be apprehended and their current whereabouts are unknown.[3]

Osamu Maruoka, who also led the hijacking of Japan Air Lines Flight 404 in 1973, 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.[4] Another of the hijackers, Jun Nishikawa, eventually returned to Japan, was arrested, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.[5]

Further readingEdit

  • Wells, Carole HIJACKED: An Eyewitness Account of Evil (MotherBird Productions, 14 September 2018, ISBN 978-1732490901)

See alsoEdit



  • Schreiber, Mark (1996). Shocking Crimes of Postwar Japan. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 4-900737-34-8.