The man who was in a relationship with and sheltered Naoko Kikuchi, the second to last fugitive of the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult who was arrested earlier this summer, was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the Tokyo District Court on Thursday. 41 year old Hiroto Takahashi was aware of Kikuchi's real identity, as she lived under the alias Chizuko Sakurai, and her past crimes, including the most famous Aum Shinrikyo attack on the Tokyo subway system with sarin nerve gas in 1995.
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.
After the arrest on Sunday night of Aum Shinrikyo fugitive Naoko Kikuchi, who had been on the run for 17 years, police and investigators began the process of interviewing her and searching the house in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, where she lived. In addition to the details of her nearly two decades of hiding, the senior member of the cult responsible for the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin gas attack admitted that she was relieved the hiding was all over. In addition to arresting 41 year old Hiroto Takahashi, who was living with her, on the charges of harboring a known fugitive, 40 year old Kikuchi was arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder for her participation in the cult's deadly gas attack.