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, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid