TOKYO (TR) – Left-wing activist Fumiaki Hoshino died on Thursday at the age of 73 while serving a prison term for a crime he claimed he did not commit.
The cause of death of Hoshino was not revealed. However, he did undergo a surgical procedure earlier in May for a liver-related problem, persons familiar with the matter said, reports Jiji Press (May 31).
On November 14, 1971, Hoshino was a member of left-wing group Chukaku-ha, which organized a protest in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward that opposed the occupation of Okinawa by the United States.
The protest turned violent, with students swinging metal pipes and throwing Molotov cocktails at riot police officers. During the confrontation, officer Tsuneo Nakamura was fatally beaten and set on fire.
Police arrested six of the activists the following year. Hoshino was arrested in 1975. Two years ago, police arrested an eighth member, Masaaki Osaka.
During several trials, Hoshino, who was the leader of the protest, claimed he was innocent. However, confessions of other activists were used to convict him of murder. In 1987, the Supreme Court handed Hoshino a life term.