UPDATE: Tokyo police arrest last Aum Shinrikyo fugitive

June 15, 2012

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Police on June 15 arrested the last fugitive from the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult on suspicion of murder in connection with the 1995 sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

The suspect, Katsuya Takahashi, 54, was caught in the Kamata area of Tokyo's Ota Ward after spending 17 years on the run.

His identity was confirmed through fingerprints and his own admission, police said.

Takahashi is suspected of transporting a cult member to Naka-Meguro subway station in Tokyo, where the cultist boarded a train and released the nerve gas during the morning rush hour on March 20, 1995.

The attack, carried out by cultists on three subway lines, killed 13 people and sickened more than 6,000.

Takahashi was placed on the wanted list in May 1995 with two other Aum members, Makoto Hirata and Naoko Kikuchi.

Kikuchi, 40, was arrested on June 3, accused of murder and attempted murder for helping to produce the nerve gas used in the attack. Hirata, 47, surrendered to police on Dec. 31. He was wanted in connection with the death of a Tokyo notary and other crimes.

After Kikuchi’s arrest, police learned that Takahashi had been hiding in Kawasaki. They released video footage of a man believed to be Takahashi and provided updated images to the media along with a phone number asking for the public's assistance.

Police suspect that Takahashi conspired with Aum founder and death row inmate Chizuo Matsumoto, 57, formerly known as Shoko Asahara, and other members in the sarin gas attack.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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An updated facial portrait of the man believed to be Katsuya Takahashi as he would appear today at age 54

An updated facial portrait of the man believed to be Katsuya Takahashi as he would appear today at age 54

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  • An updated facial portrait of the man believed to be Katsuya Takahashi as he would appear today at age 54
  • Katsuya Takahashi, a former Aum Shinrikyo cult member, is taken away on June 15. (Toshiyuki Hayashi)
  • Police caught Katsuya Takahashi at this manga cafe in Nishi-Kamata in Tokyo's Ota Ward. (Satoru Ogawa)
  • Reporters gather in front of an apartment in Kawasaki where Katsuya Takahashi is believed to have lived until the end of 2011. (The Asahi Shimbun)

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