Japan Air Lines Flight 404
Japan Airlines Boeing 747-200B Manteufel.jpg
A Japan Air Lines Boeing 747-200, similar to the one involved
Date20 July 1973 (1973-07-20)
SiteDubai International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Aircraft typeBoeing 747-246B
OperatorJapan Air Lines
Flight originSchiphol International Airport, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1st stopoverOrly International Airport, Paris, France
2nd stopoverTed Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Anchorage, Alaska, United States
DestinationTokyo International Airport, Tokyo, Japan
Passengers118 (plus 5 hijackers)
Fatalities1 (hijacker)
Survivors129 (all passengers and crew; plus 4 hijackers)

Japan Air Lines Flight 404 was a passenger flight which was hijacked by Palestinian and Japanese terrorists on 20 July 1973.[1]

The flight departed Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport, Netherlands, on 20 July 1973, en route to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), Japan, via Anchorage International Airport, Alaska, US. The aircraft was a Boeing 747-246B, with 123 passengers and 22 crew members on board. The passenger complement included five terrorists, led by Osamu Maruoka, a member of the Japanese Red Army, and the other four were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.[2]

The flight was hijacked shortly after takeoff from Schiphol. In the course of the hijacking, a grenade carried by one of the skyjackers detonated, killing her and injuring the flight's chief purser. The lead hijacker almost immediately announced himself to air traffic control as El Kassar, hijacking the aircraft in the name of the Palestinian Liberation movement.[3] After several Middle Eastern governments refused to permit Flight 404 to land, the plane eventually touched down in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. After several days on the ground, the terrorists demanded the release of Kozo Okamoto, survivor of the JRA's attack on Tel Aviv's Lod Airport.[4]

After the Israeli government refused to release Okamoto, the hijackers flew the aircraft first to Damascus, Syria, and then to Benghazi, in Libya.[5] On 23 July, 89 hours after the hijacking began, the passengers and crew were released; the hijackers then blew up the aircraft, making the incident the second hull loss of a Boeing 747.[5]

Maruoka escaped, and in 1977, led the hijacking of Japan Air Lines Flight 472. He 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.[6]


  1. ^ "Chronology of aviation terrorism: 1968-2004". Skyjack, Aviation Terrorism Research. Archived from the original on 14 January 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  2. ^ "In the Spotlight: Japanese Red Army". Center for Defense Information. Archived from the original on 2006-11-24. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  3. ^ "The Skyjackers Strike Again". Time.com. July 30, 1973. Archived from the original on December 14, 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  4. ^ "The Skyjackers Strike Again, pg. 2". Time.com. July 30, 1973. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Hijacking description at the Aviation Safety Network
  6. ^ "Ex-Red Army member Maruoka dies", Japan Times, 30 May 2011.