On 3 March 1977 four men walked into an office block in the business district of central Tokyo and took hostages. They had a rifle, a pistol, and a Japanese ceremonial sword.
It all began at 16:30. The block was home to the headquarters of Keidanren (the Japanese Federation of Economic Organizations), mouthpiece of Japan’s biggest corporations. The men arrived in the foyer and asked to see Toshiwo Doko, 80-year-old head of the Federation. They were politely told he was on a business trip in Osaka.
The men produced their weapons and fired three shots into the ceiling then headed up to a seventh floor office where they took twelve people hostage, including the Federation’s managing director.
As riot police sealed off the building, the leader of the hostage takers, 42-year-old Shūsuke Nomura, issued communiques attacking the corruption and business plutocracy he claimed ruled modern Japan. It all sounded left-wing until Nomura starting condemning the post-WW2 Yalta and Potsdam conferences. He accused America and other nations of having deliberately crippled Japan to prevent it reclaiming its former imperial glory.
The police realised they were dealing with right-wing terrorists.