Tokyo nerve gas attack: Katsuya Takahashi, final suspect, arrested


The Aum Shinrikyo cult's 1995 attack on the Tokyo subway left 13 people dead and 6,000 sick. Here, authorities rinse lethal nerve gas off train platforms.


Japanese Defence Agency

Japanese police have caught Katsuya Takahashi, the final suspect in the 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway.

Takahashi, 54, was the only member of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult still at large, the Japan Times reported. Thirteen others, including its founder, are currently on death row for their role in the March attack, which killed 13 people and poisoned more than 6,000.

After 17 years on the run, Takahashi was eventually captured this morning at a manga cafe in Tokyo.

According to the Mainichi, he has already admitted to investigators that he helped carry out the subway attack. He reportedly claims to have acted on instructions from senior cult members, who he said didn't inform him about all aspects of the plan.

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Takahashi is accused of driving another Aum Shinrikyo member to a subway station in order to release lethal sarin gas. He is also suspected of involvement in other crimes, including the abduction of a public official and the sending of a letter bomb to Tokyo government offices.

His arrest comes 11 days after another cult member, Naoko Kikuchi, was arrested on a tip-off, the Asahi Shimbun said. Kikuchi told police that she and Takahashi had lived together for around 10 years as fugitives, and led them to his last known address in the nearby city of Kawasaki.

He was found to have fled his lodgings shortly after Kikuchi's arrest, but authorities were able to obtain recent surveillance pictures of him. The images were widely shown on television and helped lead to his identification and arrest, Reuters said, describing the Japanese public as "obsessed" with finding Takahashi.

The BBC described Aum Shinrikyo as a spiritual group that began in the 1980s by mixing Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, but later developed into "a paranoid cult obsessed with Armageddon."

Almost 200 of its members have been convicted of involvement in the subway attack and other crimes.

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