News / Asia

    Japan Captures Fugitive Linked to Tokyo Sarin Gas Attack

    Katsuya Takahashi (C), the last remaining fugitive of the Aum Shinrikyo, is escorted by police officers to the Tokyo Metropolitan police department in Tokyo June 15, 2012. Katsuya Takahashi (C), the last remaining fugitive of the Aum Shinrikyo, is escorted by police officers to the Tokyo Metropolitan police department in Tokyo June 15, 2012.
    x
    Katsuya Takahashi (C), the last remaining fugitive of the Aum Shinrikyo, is escorted by police officers to the Tokyo Metropolitan police department in Tokyo June 15, 2012.
    Katsuya Takahashi (C), the last remaining fugitive of the Aum Shinrikyo, is escorted by police officers to the Tokyo Metropolitan police department in Tokyo June 15, 2012.
    TOKYO - Japan is breathing a long-awaited sigh of relief.

    A newspaper seller hawked an extra edition Friday afternoon with a banner headline that the country's last remaining top fugitive has been apprehended.

    The announcement was formally made at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department by chief criminal investigator Naomasa Yoshida.

    The police official said Katsuya Takahashi, 54, on the special Most Wanted list, has been taken into custody following a manhunt that began in 1995 and served with an arrest warrant for murder and attempted murder.

    Takahashi was apprehended in a comic book cafe in the capital after police received a tip the Aum Shinrikyo cult member was there. Police quoted Takahashi as saying he was carrying the equivalent of $60,000 in cash.

    His arrest comes less than two weeks after one of his former colleagues, Naoko Kikuchi, was captured. Her arrest revealed that Takahashi had been working for a construction company in nearby Kawasaki.

    On the last day of 2011, former senior cult official Makoto Hirata surrendered to police.

    Hirata, Kikuchi and Takahashi had been on a special wanted list. For more than a decade their faces were ubiquitous, on police posters in public spaces across the country.

    They were accused of taking part in the release of sarin gas in train cars on the Tokyo subway system during the morning rush hour on March 20, 1995. Twelve people died and thousands more were poisoned.

    The cult's founder, Shoko Asahara (whose real name is Chizuo
    Matsumoto) has been sentenced to death by hanging for those killings and 15 others blamed on the group. Eleven other Aum members have also been convicted of murder and sentenced to die.

    Asahara, who is legally blind, at one time had a following numbering in the thousands. He told cult members he wanted them to help unleash turmoil that would trigger a third world war so they could seize power and take over Japan.

    The cult had earlier considered building a nuclear bomb, but when that proved impossible it chose instead to focus on chemical weapons. Aum was able to manufacture sarin, a clear, colorless, and tasteless nerve gas that it unleashed on perceived enemies before its big attack on the Tokyo subway system.

    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora