Aum member should be indicted over 1995 blast: Prosecution inquest

Kyodo News Service in Yahoo! Asia News/June 24, 2005

Kyodo -- The First Tokyo Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution has concluded that prosecutors were wrong not to indict a former Aum Shinrikyo cult member over his alleged involvement in a 1995 explosion at a religious scholar's home, the committee said Friday.

Koichi Ishikawa, 36, was arrested over his alleged part with other senior AUM members in an explosion at the condominium of Hiromi Shimada, a religious scholar believed to be sympathetic to AUM, on March 19, 1995. A time bomb placed at the entrance of his condominium unit exploded but no one was injured.

Police believe that AUM founder Shoko Asahara ordered the explosion to help confuse police investigators who were looking into other cases they believed AUM was involved in.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office decided last September not to indict Ishikawa due to a lack of evidence, leading Shimada to file a petition to the inquest committee.

The committee expressed doubts over Ishikawa's statement in which he claimed he "did not hear anything about his assignment other than being ordered to carry out the role of making fliers," in view of the fact he was with other AUM members when the conspiracy for the explosion was discussed.

The committee said Ishikawa, by being present at the gathering for the conspiracy, should be judged as having taken part in the conspiracy.

Given the committee's conclusion, prosecutors will reexamine whether to indict Ishikawa.

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