Episode 402 – The Friendly Skies

This week, we’re covering the bizarre history of a hijacking attempt from 1970. What led nine young men to seize control of JAL Flight 351, and why in the hell did they think that, of all places to take the plane, North Korea was the one to pick?


Takazawa, Koji. Destiny: The Secret Operations of the Yogodo Exiles

A retrospective from NK News on the hijacking 50 years later.

New York Times archival coverage of the hijacking.

A New York Times piece on how airplane hijacking went from a common thing to something far rarer.


A JAL Boeing 727. This is not the hijacked plane, but gives you a sense of scale.
Pyongyang’s Mirim airport, the final destination of the flight.
The hostage swap in Fukuoka.
Interpol wanted notices for five of the hijackers.

1 thought on “Episode 402 – The Friendly Skies”

  1. This got me going down the rabbit hole of hijackings and plane crashes. In 1968, it seemed like hijackers wanting to go to Cuba was a weekly occurrence! And they were usually successful!
    I’m still in awe at their incompetence. They could have easily gone to Chongryon and talked about going to North Korea with enthusiastic “citizens” and yet they went with this route.

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