Suspect in cop killing caught after 46 years

Masaaki Osaka, a leftist radical, has been charged with killing a police officer during a street protest in Tokyo in 1971.
Masaaki Osaka, a leftist radical, has been charged with killing a police officer during a street protest in Tokyo in 1971.

TOKYO • A Japanese leftist radical has been arrested and charged in the killing of a police officer after more than four decades on the run, the authorities said yesterday.

Masaaki Osaka, 67, once a high- ranking member of the Japan Revolutionary Communist League, allegedly clubbed the officer with a metal pipe and Molotov cocktail during violent street protests in Tokyo's now fashionable Shibuya district. He disappeared after the incident in late 1971.

A Tokyo Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed Osaka's arrest, but declined to give details.

Local media said Osaka - who was arrested in the city of Hiroshima last month and brought back to Tokyo yesterday - was identified by DNA following a raid on a building used by a radical group.

Osaka was able to stay hidden for so long thanks to the help of sympathetic associates, reports said.

Images of a bespectacled Osaka with short greying hair contrasted sharply with the young man pictured in black-and-white wanted posters from the early 1970s.

The killing took place at a time when large street protests were happening in major cities around the world as anti-establishment groups clashed with the authorities, sometimes violently.

Osaka is suspected of killing police officer Tsuneo Nakamura, 21, in November 1971 when students and other activists protesting against the ratification of a Japan-United States treaty on the reversion of Okinawa staged a violent riot in Shibuya district, Kyodo news agency reported.

Osaka was a member of the Japan Revolutionary Communist League National Committee, often referred to as Chukaku-ha, or "middle core faction", the report said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2017, with the headline 'Suspect in cop killing caught after 46 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe