In the English dubbed Madman DVD release of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu!, as part of of the extra segment The Mysteries of Fumoffu on the first disk (episodes 1-3), it notes there is something different about the first and second episodes compared to when they aired.

The notes say A Hostage With No Compromises was not aired because of a certain event and so A Fruitless Lunchtime was aired with The Man From the South as the first episode instead. What was this event, and how does it relate to A Hostage With No Compromises?

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    I vaguely recall that there was some sort of kidnapping incident that happened shortly before Fumoffu went on air, which is why they cut the segment that's basically about a kidnapping. I'll try to dig up sources later if nobody else posts an answer. – senshin Jul 14 '14 at 0:57

According to Wikipedia, A Hostage With No Compromises was not aired "because the plot involved child kidnapping and in Japan, real-life child kidnappings were making headlines at that time", and as mentioned in the question, A Fruitless Lunchtime and The Man From the South was aired as episode 1 on August 26th, 2003.

The Japanese article of Full Metal Panic! reports that Fuji TV made the change to the airing due to the kidnapping and murder case in Nagasaki that happens less than 2 months before the airing date.

Below is the summary of the incident, based on the ariticle:

On July 1st, 2003, in Nagasaki, a 4-year-old boy was kidnapped and murdered by a first year middle schooler (12-year-old). The child was led by the middle schooler to the top floor of a parking building, where the child was stripped naked, then was punched and kicked in stomach and various places. Furthermore, the child has his genitalia mutilated by the middle schooler with scissors. However, when he realized that there was security camera, he decided to throw the crying child over the railing down the road 20 meters below, the impact of which killed the child 30 minutes later.

Looking at the summary of A Hostage With No Compromises (taken from Wikipedia):

After Sousuke's encounter with a gang leaves its members disrespected, their leader decides to take Kaname hostage. Instead of giving in to their demands, Sousuke holds the gang leader's little brother hostage and proposes an exchange.

The story was quite similar to the outrageous incident, not just the kidnapping part, but also the part about a young man kidnapping a boy.

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