The Japanese Red Army (Japanese: 日本赤軍 Nihon Sekigun) was a Japanese communist terrorist group active from 1971 to 2001. Prior to the JRA's formation, founder and leader Fusako Shigenobu assembled a small group of leftist extremists who advocated for terrorist action and declared war on Japan. Unfettered, Japanese police officers arrested many of this groups members, with those who escaped later going on to join the similar and associated, but still separate United Red Army.
After this, Fusako reorganized her group into what is now known as the Japanese Red Army. On March 31 1970, nine JRA members armed with katanas and pipe bombs hijacked Japan Airlines Flight 351 , diverting the path from Fukuoka and instead landing at the Mirmin Airport in North Korea, where they attempted to offer all the plane and all of its 129 passengers as prisoners to North Korea. However, North Korean officials simply granted the passengers asylum while mastermind Takaya Shiomi was eventually sent to nearly 20 years in prison back in Japan for the operation.
On May 30 1972, three JRA members infiltrated the Lod Airport (now Ben Gurion Airport) in Israel with heavy planning assistance from a Palestinian terrorist gang, dressed in disguise and each carrying weapon-concealing violin cases. At around 10 PM they opened the cases to take out Czech VZ. 58 assault rifles, then opened fire and activated live hand grenades in the waiting area, ultimately killing 26 people in what became known as the Lod Airport Massacre. 2 of the perpetrators died during the attack while the survivor was arrested by guards.
After the United Red Army collapsed in 1973, the JRA was left dependent on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine for virtually all of its resource support. With many of the Japanese Red Army's members being captured, dying or hiding in secrecy over the next 30 years, Fusako was finally arrested and sent to jail in July 2000. With the leader imprisoned, she officially disbanded the JRA in 2001. It was succeeded by a new, much more passive organization known as Movement Rentai, which was declared to fight for its goals through legal means.