» 06/15/2012, 00.00
Police capture last Aum Shinrikyo member, perpetrators of the Tokyo subway massacre
Katsuya Takahashi, 54, was the bodyguard of Shoko Asahara, leader of the sect, who on March 20, 1995 ordered the release of nerve gas, killing 13 people. Turning point in the investigation, the arrest of Naoko Kikuchi, penultimate member of the group. For the attack, 13 people are awaiting execution by hanging.
Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - This morning the Japanese police arrested Katsuya Takahashi, 54, the last member of the Aum Shinrikyo still wanted for the attack on the Tokyo underground on 20 March 1995. Carried out with sarin, a nerve gas, it killed the 13 people died, and injuring six thousand. The police have arrested the man while he was in a comic shop, thanks to a tip off from a Salesman. For some time the police were on his trail, and their search was stepped up June 3 last year, following the arrest of Naoko Kikuchi, the penultimate sect member at large.
According to the police, in recent years Takahashi worked in a construction company under the false name Shinya Sakurai. From 2001 to 2006, the man lived together with Kikuchi - who called herself Chizuko Sakurai - in an apartment in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo, posing as a couple. After the arrest of the woman, Takahashi had disappeared again, but police found a recent picture of him at the apartment, which they immediately spread throughout the country.
Takahashi was the last of the three members of the Aum Shinriko still at large, and his arrest ends a manhunt that has lasted 17 years. He was the personal bodyguard of Shoko Asahara, 56, founder and leader of the sect. In addition to the capture of Naoko Kikuchi, 31 December 2011 Makoto Hirata, 46, turned himself in to police claiming to want to "close with the past." Hirata is not accused of direct participation in the attack, but was wanted for the kidnapping and murder of the brother of a member of the sect.
For the Tokyo massacre, one of the most serious in Japan's history, 13 people were sentenced to death by hanging, and are currently on death row and awaiting their fate. Among them, is also Asahara. In November 2011, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal for clemency for Seiichi Endo, 51, one of the leaders of the attack.
Aum Shinrikyo, "Supreme Truth" was founded in 1984 by Asahara, a nearly-blind yoga teacher, and mixes elements from Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity. Asahara, who has repeatedly stated to be a reincarnation of Christ, accused the British royal family of conspiring against him, and prophesied the end of the world for 1997. In 1995 it was estimated that the sect had 30 thousand followers in Japan and 10 thousand in Russia. Aum Shinrikyo possessed an arsenal of chemical, biological and conventional weapons in the prediction of an apocalyptic struggle against the government, which was to start with the attack on the subway. The sect, still operating in Japan and Russia under the name "Aleph", is under close surveillance by security agencies.
13/09/2010 JAPAN - CHINA
Tokyo frees Chinese sailors arrested off the Senkaku / Diaoyu islands
The captain of the vessel remains under arrest. The sailors were captured last September 9, charged with having rammed a Japanese coastguard who had ordered them to turn around. Diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Beijing still strained
Powerful tsunami of 10 meters. Earthquake off the coast of Tokyo
The epicenter about 400 km from Tokyo. Cars, boats, houses dragged by the tidal wave.
Record drop in Japanese economy in the first quarter: - 4%
Tokyo’s data worse than the USA (-1,6%) end Europe (-2,5%). Exports in free fall as well as internal demand. There are some signs of recovery, but fears too, that it is tied to the governments massive stimulus plans.
A shocked Japan ponders Akihabara massacre
In a society now in fear and seeking solutions, there are some who want to give greater power to the police, and some who are pondering the psychological or social causes that might favour the tendency to brutality. The role that religion can play should be explored more deeply, but here the Church is "timid".
Nagasaki, November 24 188 Catholic martyrs beatified
The announcement was made by the Japanese Bishop’s Conference. Card. Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints will be present at the ceremony. Archbishop of Tokyo: preserving the faith gifted to us by our predecessors by their own blood, in our hearts.
VATICAN - USA
Pope to Trump: America’s greatness is measured by its attention to the poor
Pope Francis exalts the "rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people” and the nation’s “commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide ". Concerns " for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door ". The oath Trump preceded by various prayers of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish Representatives. The slogan "America first" will guide political choices. String criticism of the establishment. China’s caution and the enthusiasm of the president of Taiwan.
CHINA - UNITED STATES
The Trump era begins: The China-US relationship and the risk of war
As the inauguration ceremony of the Trump presidency approaches, the Propaganda Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party has banned all journalists from “unauthorized criticism" of Trump’ words and deeds. According to the great dissident Wei Jingsheng there is a chance that Trump will force China into fair trade deals, possibly leading to political and legal reforms. A trade war is an option.
20/01/2017 CHINA - UNITED STATES
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.