Japanese Man Charged With Hijack, Murder

TOKYO, Aug 13, (AFP) — Tokyo prosecutors on Friday charged a 28- year-old man with hijacking a jumbo jet with 517 people aboard and stabbing the captain to death, officials said.

Prosecutors said Yuji Nishizawa hijacked the Boeing 747-400 shortly after take-off from Tokyo’s Haneda airport on July 23 and killed the pilot in the cockpit with a kitchen knife.

Nishizawa faced charges for murder and under anti-hijacking legislation which provides for the death penalty in air assaults that result in fatalities, they said.

According to officials, psychiatric tests conducted the previous day found he understood the difference between right and wrong and was capable of taking responsbility for his actions.

Reports said Nishizawa killed 51-year-old pilot Naoyuki Nagashima and briefly took over the controls of the Boeing 747-400, nearly crashing it, before he was overpowered by other crew members.

A co-pilot landed the plane, and there were no further injuries to crew or passengers, officials said.

“I did a terrible thing to the captain and the passengers aboard the flight,” the hijacker was quoted as saying by Jiji Press news agency last week.

“Due to my taking control, the airplane dived. If I had been able to let the plane continue it could have crashed, taking the lives of more than 500 innocent crew and passengers and residents to a tragic end.”

According to Japanese reports, the plane fell some 570 metres (1,880 feet) in two minutes after the hijacker took over as he moved the control stick twice as fast as a pilot usually does.

“I trained myself by flight simulation games. I’m confident of landing the plane,” Jiji Press earlier quoted the hijacker as telling the pilot after taking the co-pilot’s seat.

“I have a hobby of playing flight simulation games and I wanted to steer the real stuff no matter how,” the man, said to have a history of mental problems, reportedly told police investigators.

 Source: Agence France Press

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