The Double Lives of Japan’s Most Wanted Terrorists

Shortly before 8 a.m. on March 20, 1995, five followers of the doomsday cult Aum Supreme Truth boarded subway trains in central Tokyo. Using umbrellas with sharpened tips, they pierced plastic bags containing lethal quantities of sarin nerve agent, and fled as the liquid evaporated.

As the sarin coursed through packed carriages, passengers started to cough and struggle for breath. Some of those who made it on to platforms and upstairs to street level collapsed, foaming at the mouth and coughing up blood.

The attack killed 13 people and made 6,000 others ill. Many of those poisoned in this and another attack in the city of Matsumoto the previous year, will never fully recover from the damage the gas inflicted on their nervous systems.

Read the rest of the story: Double lives for Japan’s most wanted terrorists.

Japan doomsday cultist, Katsuya Takahashi, arrested 17 years after deadly subway gas attack

His trail cold for years, the last fugitive suspected in a doomsday cult’s deadly nerve gas attack on Tokyo’s subways in 1995 was caught at a comic book cafe Friday, closing a chapter on Japan’s worst terrorist attack.

He had altered his appearance and reportedly used a fake name and avoided meeting people to evade arrest, but Katsuya Takahashi admitted who he was when approached by police at the cafe in downtown Tokyo.

The former bodyguard for the Aum Shinrikyo cult leader, Takahashi had been on Japan’s most wanted list for years for his suspected participation in the sarin gas attack that killed 13 people and injured about 6,000, shattering Japan’s long-held sense of safety.

Read the rest of the story: Japan doomsday cultist arrested 17 years after deadly subway gas attack.

Japan hunting down last fugitive in ’95 subway gas attack

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.

Read the rest of the story: Japan hunts last fugitive in ’95 subway gas attack.

Final Aum Shinrikyo Sarin Gas Attack Fugitive Traced to Kawasaki

Katsuya Takahashi, the last Aum Shinrikyo fugitive still on the run for the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system, probably lived in a Kawasaki apartment under the name Shinya Sakurai until late last year and may still be in the city, investigative sources said Tuesday.

A security camera in Kawasaki recorded footage of a man resembling Takahashi between Sunday and Tuesday, police said.

They plan to search the Kawasaki apartment for evidence soon and will continue questioning cult fugitive Naoko Kikuchi, 40, who was arrested Sunday in connection with the deadly nerve gas attack, and Hiroto Takahashi, 41, who was arrested Monday on suspicion of harboring her at a home in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Read the rest of the story: Final Aum fugitive traced to Kawasaki.

Japan Arrests Sarin Attack Cult Member, Naoko Kikuchi

One of the two remaining fugitive members of the doomsday cult behind the 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo subways was arrested Sunday, Japanese media reports said.

Former senior Aum Shinrikyo cult member Naoko Kikuchi, 40, had been spotted in Sagamihara city, 30 kilometers 20 miles southwest of Tokyo, and acknowledged who she was when approached by police, according to NHK TV and other media reports, citing investigative sources. She was wanted on charges of murder in the 1995 attack.

Read the rest of the story: Report: Japan Arrests Sarin Attack Cult Member.

Aum figure Makoto Hirata gets fresh charge

Prosecutors have indicted Makoto Hirata, a former senior member of Aum Shinrikyo, on fresh charges of involvement in a blast at a Tokyo condominium and the firebombing of the cults Tokyo headquarters in 1995, where were allegedly carried out to confuse police investigations of Aum.Hirata, 46, who was indicted last month on kidnapping and unlawful confinement charges following nearly 17 years on the run, will be the first Aum member to face a lay judge trial.

Read the rest of the story: Aum figure Hirata gets new charge.

Aum Shinrikyo: Makoto Hirata avoids notary-killing charges

Prosecutors will charge longtime Aum Shinrikyo fugitive Makoto Hirata with “unlawful capture” and confinement Friday in connection with the fatal abduction of Tokyo notary Kiyoshi Kariya in 1995 and will not pursue an indictment over his death, investigative sources said Wednesday.

Tokyo prosecutors apparently concluded it would be difficult to prove Hirata, 46, was aware that Kariya, 68, had been given a drug overdose — administered as a truth serum — that caused his death, and thus will not charge the cultist with manslaughter.

Hirata claimed during questioning after his New Year’s Day arrest that he only learned the circumstances of Kariya’s death after the fact, the sources said. Tokyo police arrested him for the technical charge of unlawful capture and confinement causing death after he turned himself in Dec. 31 after nearly 17 years on the run for the crimes.

Read the rest of the story: Hirata avoids notary-killing charges.

Akemi Saito arrested, Aum Shinrikyo cult fugitive – 1995 Sarin Gas Attack

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.

Read the rest of the story: Japan arrests woman who lived with cult fugitive.

Aum Shinrikyo cult member caught after 17 years on the run

A member of the doomsday cult behind a deadly Tokyo subway gas attack and other crimes turned himself in to police after 17 years on the run, an official said Sunday.

A Tokyo metropolitan police official said Makoto Hirata, a member of Aum Shinrikyo, conspired with several other members in kidnapping a notary official in 1995 and causing his death. The victim, Kiyoshi Kariya, then 68, was the brother of a follower trying to quit the group.

Hirata, 46, who had been on the run since the summer of 1995, turned himself in at a Tokyo police station and was detained early Sunday, the police official said on condition of anonymity.

The cult also released sarin nerve gas in Tokyos subway system in 1995, killing 13 people and injuring more than 6,000 in Japans deadliest act of domestic terrorism.

Read the rest of the story: Japan cult member nabbed after 17 years on the run

Aum may be gone, but guru still has following

Judicial proceedings for Aum Shinrikyo figures effectively came to an end Monday as Seiichi Endo became the 13th member of the doomsday cult to have his death sentence finalized by the Supreme Court.Spin control: Hiroshi Araki, spokesman for Aleph, a spinoff of Aum Shinrikyo, faces the media Monday in front of the Supreme Court.

But while Aums criminal masterminds await the hangmans noose on death row, splinter groups remain active and are showing signs of loyalty to guru Shoko Asahara.

"Aleph is operating under Aums old teachings. They are taking a defiant attitude," Kazuyuki Furuma, a resident of Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, told The Japan Times on Monday. Furuma heads a group that wants Aum-related groups ousted from the ward.

Read the rest of the story: Aum may be gone in name but guru still has following.