Kidnapping at the Japanese Embassy in Peru in 1996

It all started on the night of December 17, 1996, at the Japanese Embassy in Lima, Peru. It was invaded by the MRTA (Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement). The guerrillas demanded the release of 500 comrades who were imprisoned.

Peru's Tupac Amaru organization was virtually extinct. The seizure of the embassy was a demonstration that the group was still active and planning to rebuild. “Either we achieve the release of our comrades or we will die with the hostages,” declared Tupac member Amaru.

The 610 people gathered at the embassy for an official reception on the birthday of the Emperor of Japan Akihito, hostages were taken. This was one of the most impressive kidnappings in history, as it lasted an incredible 126 days. Second only to the occupation of the US embassy in Tehran, Iran, which lasted 444 days. 

Kidnapping at the Japan embassy in Peru in 1996

It all ended when police and military invaded the Japanese ambassador's home and freed the remaining 72 hostages. All 14 Tupac Amaru guerrillas were shot down. Unfortunately, the hostage Carlos Giusti, judge of the Supreme Court, was killed along with two soldiers. 5 other hostages were injured.

Operation Chavin de Huantar

80 agents invaded the embassy to rescue the hostages at exactly 3:30 pm. They were equipped with bulletproof vests, President Alberto Fujimori accompanied everything on the spot. He said the hostages were released “safe and sound” in a mission that lasted 40 minutes. 

A guerrilla fighter claims that four of the younger kidnappers tried to surrender but were still killed by the military. President Fujimori confirmed the casualty figures and said there was "no other way" to resolve the situation.

The guerrillas who invaded the embassy played football/soccer daily. The military took advantage of this opportunity and invaded the embassy through a tunnel. Ambassador Jorge Gumucio said that the hostages had been warned in advance that there would be military intervention.

Among the freed hostages were two Peruvian ministers, the ambassadors of Japan and Bolivia, 23 other Japanese nationals and several Peruvians, among them President Fujimori's brother.

Kidnapping at the Japan embassy in Peru in 1996

The leader of the guerrillas was Néstor Cerpa Cartolini, second only to Víctor Polay Campos, the founder of the group. O Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement was founded in 1984, inspired by other leftist guerrillas in countries in the region.

During and after the operation, several explosions of unknown origin occurred inside the Japanese ambassador's home. It is not known whether the explosions were caused by grenades or by explosives that the terrorists placed at the scene.

That was the historic event involving Japan and Peru. In case you didn't know, Peru has a good relationship with the Japanese and has received many immigrants. Peruvians can even enter Japan without a visa, thanks to the good relations that the Japanese president provided by governing turkey.

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