16 Febbraio 2015
Takahashi ‘played key role’ in ’95 subway attack
Prosecutors accused former Aum Supreme Truth cult member Katsuya Takahashi on Friday of playing an important role in the 1995 deadly sarin nerve gas attack on Tokyo’s subway system.
“As a driver for one of the perpetrators, Takahashi played a key role in the attack,” the prosecutors said during the 16th hearing of the trial at Tokyo District Court, which is the first of many cases related to the March 20, 1995, attack to be presided over by citizen judges.
The hearing was the first to specifically address charges against Takahashi for the sarin gas attack. Takahashi stands accused of three other crimes attributed to the cult, including the abduction of the head of a Tokyo notary public office in February 1995.
The prosecutors said the sarin attack was an indiscriminate act of terrorism masterminded by Aum guru Chizuo Matsumoto in order to disrupt an imminent police raid on the cult.
They pointed out that Takahashi, 56, was appointed as a driver by Matsumoto, 59, who went by the name of Shoko Asahara and is now on death row.
Takahashi drove Toru Toyoda, 47, one of five Aum members to release the nerve gas on Tokyo subway trains, to Nakameguro Station on the day of the gassing, according to the prosecutors.
He picked Toyoda up at Ebisu Station after the attack and later received an injection of a sarin antidote, they said.
The subway attack killed 13 people and injured about 6,000.
Takahashi’s defense claimed that he was simply following orders, given by Yoshihiro Inoue, 45, who orchestrated the attack.
“Takahashi saw the liquid but could not have imagined it would be used to kill people,” his lawyers said.
Former senior Aum members currently on death row will be questioned as witnesses. These include Kenichi Hirose, 50, and Yasuo Hayashi, 57, who both released sarin on the trains, as well as Inoue and Tomomasa Nakagawa, 52, who manufactured the nerve gas.
Takahashi’s trial began in January with cross-examinations of witnesses in two other cases—the use of deadly VX gas and the abduction of the Tokyo notary.
The first hearing in the final case—Takahashi’s alleged involvement in the bombing of the Tokyo metropolitan government office in May 1995—will be held on March 6. Takahashi will be questioned from March 23
FONTE: THE JAPAN TIMES