High court upholds acquittal of gangster in 1995 murder


Kyodo News Summary/March 29, 1999

TOKYO -- The Tokyo High Court on Monday upheld a lower court acquittal of a former gangster on a charge of ordering the murder of the AUM Shinrikyo religious cult's top scientist in April 1995.

Kenji Kamimine, 51, was again found not guilty of ordering the murder of Hideo Murai, who was stabbed to death outside the AUM Tokyo headquarters on April 23, 1995, by a 33-year-old former gang member.

Presiding Judge Niro Shimada said the lower court's ruling that the attacker's statement could not be trusted "can be affirmed."

The Tokyo District Court's decision on March 19, 1997, said there were doubts about the attacker's statements that Kamimine, former leader of a group affiliated with Japan's largest underworld syndicate, the Yamaguchi-gumi, had ordered the killing, and that they were not credible.

Murai's attacker is now serving a 12-year jail sentence for murder.

Murai was one of AUM's top leaders and in charge of the cult's sarin nerve gas production.

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