With this week’s arrest of Naoko Kikuchi in Kanagawa, only one member from the Aum Shinrikyo cult responsible for the 1995 Tokyo subway gas attack remains to be caught, 54 year old Katsuya Takahashi. With Kikuchi openly providing the details of her 17 years on the run, as well as disclosing what she knows about the religious cult and their numerous crimes, police investigators have found that Takahashi was living in Kawasaki, under the alias Shinya Sakurai, up until late last year. While he may have moved out of his apartment in the city some time ago, he has continued to work at a construction company based there up until just a few days ago, also the same time that police say they found security camera footage of a man resembling Takahashi.
This is the first time since 1996 that police have found a lead on Katsuya Takahashi, as he was one of the few who escaped the Aum Shinrikyo facilities before police conducted a raid on March 22, 1995. As Naoko Kikuchi was, he is wanted on charges for murder and attempted murder for his participation in the sarin gas attack that killed 13 people, and injured more than 6,000 more. It is understood that Takahashi, a Kawasaki native, moved into an apartment there in 2002, and lived with Kikuchi until 2006, when she left to be with 41 year old Hiroto Takahashi (no relation to Katsuya), who was also arrested on Sunday, but attests that he is not a member and has nothing to do with the Aum group.
Police believe that Naoko Kikuchi, who lived under the name of Chizuko Sakurai, may have been financially supporting Katsuya Takahashi. While she was earning around 180,000 yen a month (approx. $2,286), upon her arrest there was only around 100,000 yen ($1,270) in her account. The police also found seven cell phones that Kikuchi had used over the years, with the belief that she may have used them to stay in contact with Takahashi. Investigators say they are now preparing to make an extensive search of Kawasaki in order to find any clues about where Takahashi is now.
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