Hostages, an informative documentary on Netflix. This is not a review of it. Before watching this I had no idea Japan and Peru shared any history. It turns out Japanese immigrated to Peru at the turn of the last century to work as contract laborers. As the years went by they began to prosper more and more and developed tight-knit communities.
Both Peruvians and the Japanese wished to keep low profiles. However, this changed on December 17, 1996 when a terrorist group calling themselves MRTA took hundreds of hostages at a party being held at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence. Now acts of terrorism and bombings in the country began 17 years earlier and most everyone got used to these occurrences. So at the time it was not unusual in Peru to have a party and hear a bomb go off from several miles away.
MRTA took the hostages to force the government to release members held in prison. They thought their efforts wouldn’t last long a few days maybe a week. It lasted 126 days or until April 22, 1997. Until the Peruvian Armed Force Commandos and freed the remaining 72 hostages. Prior to this use of force Bishop Juan Luis Cipriani , Ambassador Vincent of Canada, and Mr. Minnig, representative of the Red Cross along with others on a commission who tried to end things peacefully.
Months earlier while the hostage situation was ongoing and negotiations still taking place, Japanese and Peruvian officials met in Canada. It’s known as the Japan-Republic of Peru Summit. The agreement mentioned in the documentary is known as Toronto Agreement. In it They agreed what was happening at the Ambassador’s residence was unacceptable to both governments; they would respect the law ; and agreed to keep trying to end things peacefully among other terms,
I realize back in 1996-1997 I didn’t really follow events outside of the Untied States much. I was more focused on high school, my classes, and moving on after graduation. However, as the years have gone by I keep learning new things in history and this was one of them. Sure it was not a pleasant event by any means – most hostages survived the ordeal.