Mother, ex-colleagues visit grave of lawyer's family


Nov 3, 1999

YOKOHAMA, Nov. 3, 1999 (Kyodo) -- The mother and former colleagues of a lawyer who was killed along with his wife and son 10 years ago by members of the AUM Shinrikyo religious cult visited their graves Wednesday.

Sachiyo Sakamoto, 67, offered flowers and a prayer at the graves of her son, Tsutsumi Sakamoto, his wife, Satoko, and their baby son, Tatsuhiko, in the cemetery of a Buddhist temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Tsutsumi Sakamoto, then 33, his 29-year-old wife and 1-year-old son disappeared from their apartment in Yokohama's Isogo Ward on Nov. 3, 1989. Their bodies were found separately in the mountains in Niigata, Toyama and Nagano prefectures in September 1995.

Ten former colleagues of Sakamoto played a tape of a song called "SATOKO," which they helped make based on a poem his wife wrote when she was in school.

"These 10 years have flown past like an arrow. I am remembering all of the hard times during that period," Sachiyo said.

Hisashi Okada, who used to work with Sakamoto, said, "Whenever I come here, I feel the weight of a lawyer's mission. I always think to myself, 'I'm not going to let your death be wasted'."

At the time of his death, Sakamoto was helping parents who wanted their children to leave AUM and was preparing to file a lawsuit against the sect.

A former senior AUM member was handed the death sentence by the Tokyo District Court in October 1998 for the murders of the Sakamotos. Five others, including AUM founder Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, have been prosecuted in the case.

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