Japan has mobilized thousands of police to hunt for the last fugitive suspected in a doomsday cult’s deadly nerve gas attack on Tokyo’s subway 17 years ago.
The long-cold search advanced significantly with the surrender of one fugitive earlier this year and the arrest of another Sunday, leaving only Katsuya Takahashi.
Some 5,000 officers fanned out Friday across the Tokyo area to hand out fresh photos of him and monitor transportation hubs to keep him from escaping the capital.
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A woman claiming to have lived with a senior member of the doomsday cult behind the 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo’s subways turned herself in and was arrested Tuesday for helping him evade police for nearly 17 years.
Akemi Saito, also a member of Aum Shinrikyo, gave herself up after Makoto Hirata surrendered to police on New Year’s Eve, according to police and Saito’s lawyer.
Hirata has refused to explain how he managed to keep underground for so long despite being one of Japan’s most-wanted fugitives.
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Japan on Saturday marked the 15th anniversary of the deadly 1995 Tokyo subway nerve gas attacks, with families of victims leaving flowers at the scene of some of the deaths.
Train staff held a moment of silence at the Kasumigaseki subway station at 8 am, roughly the hour when the Nazi-developed sarin gas was released into packed commuter trains during the morning rush hour.
In all, 13 people were killed and more than 6,000 injured, many of them severely, when the Aum Supreme Truth doomsday cult attacked stations and trains simultaneously.
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