TOKYO, March 24 -- Police on Friday arrested a senior member of the Japanese Red Army who was charged 20 years ago in a series of bomb attacks in downtown Tokyo. Yukiko Ekita, 44, was arrested by Tokyo Metropolitan Police aboard a Japan Airlines flight en route to Japan from Romania on suspicion of carrying a false passport, police said.
They arrested Ekita after the airplane entered Japanese airspace. Ekita is suspected of having entered Romania with a fake passport late last September. Romanian security authorities took her into custody on Monday, officials said. After her arrival in Tokyo, Ekita was taken to the Metropolitan Police Department for questioning. She is one of those responsible for a series of bomb attacks on major Japanese corporations in the early 1970s, and was arrested in May 1975. Ekita, however, was freed in 1977 along with five other radicals after the Red Army terrorist group hijacked a Japan Airlines jetliner over India, trading her and the other members for hostages in the hijacking. The airplane, bound to Tokyo from Paris, was forced to land at Dhaka for the exchange. The hijackers flew to Algeria and then surrendered to authorities there. After the release, Japanese authorities had put Ekita on an international wanted list through the International Criminal Police Organization. Ekita is the second arrested among the six extremists released in 1977. Another radical, Hiroshi Sensui, 58, was arrested in June 1988 in Manila. The Japanese Red Army, formed in 1971, was responsible for a series of hijackings and other attacks in the 1970s and 1980s.