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Japan has announced that Naoko Kikuchi has been arrested. Kikuchi, a forty year old woman, was wanted for being involved in the 1995 cult attack on a Tokyo subway. The attack killed thirteen and injured more than six thousand. Kikuchi was a senior member of the doomsday cult and was wanted for her role in the production of the sarin nerve gas used in the attack. She has admitted that she helped in the production of the gas but at the time did not know what it was or for what it was being used. When approached by police she did not try to hide her identity.
Kikuchi has been hiding for years using aliases. According to police Kikuchi stated, “I had to hide my identity and used an alias all these years while I was on the run. Now I’m arrested and I don’t have to do that anymore. I feel relieved.”
Hiroto Takahashi, 41, was also arrested in relation to Kikuchi. He started living with Kikuchi six years ago and moved into a new apartment in the city of Sagamihara with her in 2010. He turned himself in the next day when police issued the warrant for his arrest.
Kikuchi was one of two remaining cult members to be caught by authorities. The other missing member is Katsuya Takahashi, 54. Katsuya Takahashi is not related to Kikuchi’s partner, Hiroto Takahashi.
The cult, then known as Aum Shinrikyo, created a stock pile of chemical, biological, and conventional weapons in 1995 for the apocalyptic battle they believed would begin against the government. In 1995, the group had at least ten thousand members in Japan and another thirty thousand members in Russia.The cult is still in existence but is now known as Aleph and has since disavowed the former leader and planner of the attack Shoko Asahara. There are still hundreds of members involved in the cult but it is under constant surveillance by the police.
Almost two hundred members of the cult have been convicted with connections to the gas attack and several other crimes. At least thirteen members, including Asahara, are on death row for the Tokyo subway attack.
Makoto Hirata, another cult member and suspect in an unrelated kidnapping-murder, turned himself in New Year’s Eve of 2011, surprising all of Japan. Ten days later, Akemi Saito, a woman who was living with Hirata, turned herself in as well. She was wanted for her connection to crimes perpetrated by the cult.