A man who confessed to being a suspect wanted for terrorist bombings that targeted Japanese companies in the 1970s died at a hospital in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Monday morning, reportedly due to complications from stomach cancer.

Suspected Bomber Satoshi Kirishima Reveals True Identity

Admitted earlier this month, he didn’t have a driver’s license or health insurance card and subsequently received treatment at the hospital at his own expense, initially under the name Hiroshi Uchida. Staff were then apparently stunned last week when he told them he was Satoshi Kirishima, a member of a militant group behind several bombings in the 1970s. 

Kirishima had been on the run for 49 years. For decades, his smiling mugshot could be seen on posters outside police stations and various other buildings up and down the country. He belonged to the “Scorpion” cell of the East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front, a radical, left-wing organization that claimed responsibility for at least 12 bombings in Tokyo in the mid-1970s. They carried out a series of attacks on Japanese companies and entities. The worst was the bombing of the headquarters of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in the Marunouchi business district in 1974, which killed eight people and injured 165.  

Satoshi Kirishima Evaded Capture for Half a Century

Kirishima was suspected of planting and detonating a homemade bomb in a building in Ginza the following year. Wanted on suspicion of violating the Explosives Control Law for almost half a century, he managed to evade capture. According to investigative sources, the man told the police he’d been working for a civil engineering company in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture. Based on his physical characteristics and the fact that he was able to provide details about Kirishima’s family situation that only he would know, the police were confident they had finally caught their man. At the time of his death, though, they were still waiting for the results of his DNA test. 

Two members of the group remain on an international wanted list: Ayako Daidoji and Norio Sasaki, both aged 75.

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