September 23, 2023

Destination Pyongyang: the Yodo hijacking incident, 50 years on

Much remains unknown about this bizarre tale of Cold War intrigue, misguided radicalism, and North Korean opportunism

A week or so ago marked fifty years since the Yodo incident, a story that is bizarre even by the standards of the peculiar world of North Korea -- and one that is not completely over yet.

On March 31, 1970, at 7:33 am, Japan Airlines flight 351 took off from Tokyo Haneda Airport. It was a Boeing 727 with 122 passengers and seven crew members destined for the Japanese city of Fukuoka (the plane was called Yodo, or Yodo-go, which is why the incident became known as the 'Yodo affair').