JAPAN: The Karuizawa Five

The setting: the fashionable mountain resort town of Karuizawa, 80 miles northwest of Tokyo. The cast: five young terrorists, a woman hostage, and 1,200 cops equipped with armored cars, loudspeakers and a wrecker crane. The scenario—carried live and in color for 10 hr. 20 min. on national television last week—called for the police to rescue the woman, while avoiding any possible charges of police brutality. In what Takeo Doi, a leading Japanese psychiatrist, likened to the painfully measured emotional buildup of a classical Kabuki play, the cops accomplished that task—though not without tragedy.

ACT I. The five terrorists, hunted by...

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