Aum ex-fugitive served fresh warrant for metro government parcel bomb blast

The Japan Times/July 10, 2012

Captured Aum Shinrikyo fugitive Katsuya Takahashi faced new charges Monday in connection with a 1995 parcel bomb attack on the Tokyo Metropolitan Government that seriously wounded a clerk.

The fresh warrant served by the Metropolitan Police Department against Takahashi, 54, is for attempted murder and violation of the explosives control law.

Takahashi, who was captured in June after 17 years on the run, faces yet-to-be served warrants accusing him of being the wheel man for one of the cultists who carried out the March 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995 that killed 13 people and injured more than 6,000 others.

The last of three Aum fugitives to be caught, he also faces charges for involvement in three murders and attempted murders, including via use of the nerve agent VX, and the fatal kidnapping of a Tokyo notary.

The parcel bombing was believed plotted by senior cult figures to disrupt the investigation into Aum and its founder, Shoko Asahara, 57, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, after the subway gassing. Asahara is now on death row.

High-performance RDX explosive had been packed into a hollowed-out book with a detonator set to go off when opened. Takahashi allegedly procured the book, altered it and planted the bomb.

Police believe, based on testimony presented in earlier trials of several cultists, that Takahashi conspired on or around May 10, 1995, with fellow Aum members, including ranking member Yoshihiro Inoue, 42, who is also now on death row, to make the bomb in the western Tokyo suburb of Hachioji with the aim of killing the then Tokyo governor, Yukio Aoshima.

The parcel was sent to the governor's office from Shinjuku Ward and exploded in the metropolitan government headquarters on May 16, seriously wounding a male worker.

Aum fugitive Naoko Kikuchi, 40, who was arrested June 3 shortly before Takahashi was collared, also faces charges for allegedly transporting the parcel bomb, as well as for her role in the subway attack, sources said.

Takahashi, Kikuchi and Makoto Hirata had been on the run since being put on a special wanted list in 1995 over the sarin attack. Hirata turned himself and was arrested last Jan. 1.

On June 4, a day after Kikuchi's arrest, Takahashi left the dormitory of a Kawasaki construction firm where he was working and vanished. He was captured June 15 at a manga cafe close to JR East's Kamata Station in Tokyo, about 5 km from the dorm.

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