- Naoko Kikuchi, 40, arrested on outskirts of Tokyo following tip-off
- 1995 gas attacks on Tokyo subway killed 13 and injured thousands
- Only one member of Aum Supreme Truth doomsday cult remains at large
Article by Daily Mail Reporter
Police in Japan have arrested a woman over the 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo's subway that killed 13 people, leaving only one cultist still wanted for one of the nation's worst ever mass-murders.
Police said Naoko Kikuchi was being held on suspicion of murder after being arrested late Sunday in the city of Sagamihara, west of Tokyo, with local media reporting that officers swooped after a tip off.
Kikuchi, 40, was one of only two remaining members of the Aum Supreme Truth doomsday cult still at large, and was wanted for being part of the team responsible for producing the sarin nerve gas used in the subway attack.
Arrest: Naoko Kikuchi, a former member of Japan's Aum Supreme Truth doomsday cult responsible for the 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway is driven away by police following her arrest in the city of Sagamihara west of Tokyo
'It is true that I was involved in producing sarin gas, but I did not know what we were making at that time,' she was quoted as telling police.
Kikuchi's arrest leaves only Katsuya Takahashi, 54, still on the wanted list.
In the 17 years since the deadly attack, which injured thousands and caused havoc throughout Tokyo, Kikuchi had lived under an assumed identity, telling neighbours she worked as an accountant for a nursing care company, reports said.
As she was: Naoko Kikuchi is seen in the police picture released 17 years ago
Kikuchi was quoted by Jiji news agency as telling police: 'I have lived as Chizuko Sakurai, but I'm relieved that I don't have to run away anymore.'
The agency said she also told police she no longer believes in the teachings of Aum guru Shoko Asahara, adding: 'I will tell you everything. I am sorry for running away for a long time.'
Police said she had been living with a 41-year-old man, who was not an Aum member and who stayed with her even after she revealed her true identity.
Local media reported the proposed to Kikuchi soon after the pair met in around 2005.
The woman told him that she had 'a reason she could not marry,' and revealed to him her true identity, Jiji reported, citing investigative sources.
The man was also arrested early Monday accused of harbouring a criminal.
The 1995 subway attack was one of Japan's worst mass-murders, in which sarin, first developed by the Nazis, was released onto several packed rush-hour trains.
The coordinated attacks at stations near the centre of Japan's seat of government sowed panic throughout Tokyo's heaving metro system.
The Aum cult was also responsible for an attack on the city of Matsumoto in
central Japan a year earlier, when sarin -- which Saddam Hussein deployed against the Kurds in northern Iraq in 1988 -- killed eight people.
As well as those who died, thousands more were injured, some of them seriously and permanently by inhaling or coming into contact with the gas, which cripples the nervous system.
Ramshackle: Journalists gather outside the house where Kikuchi was arrested in the city of Sagamihara near Tokyo. She had been on the run for more than 17 years
Investigation: A team of forensics officers arrive to inspect the building where Kikuchi was arrested
At large: A Tokyo wanted poster shows Katsuya Takahashi, now aged 54, the last cult member suspected in the subway attack still on the run
The end of Kikuchi's life on the run came just months after the surrender of Makoto Hirata, 47, a former Aum member who gave himself up at a police station in central Tokyo minutes before midnight on New Year's Eve.
Aum guru Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, preached a blend of Buddhist and Hindu dogma mixed with apocalyptic messages, and developed an obsession with sarin gas, becoming paranoid that his enemies would attack him with it.
Nearly 200 members of the Aum Supreme Truth cult have been convicted in the gas attack and dozens of other crimes.
Carnage: Injured commuters lie on the ground outside Tokyo's Tsukiji subway station following the gas attack on March 20, 1995
Leaders: Guru Shoko Asahara (left) led the secretive sect Aum Supreme Truth cult and (right) senior cult member Tomomasa Nakagawa. Both men remain on death row convicted of numerous murders including the sarin gas attacks
According to prosecutors the cult wanted to disrupt police moves to crack down on them and at the same time enact Asahara's vision of an apocalyptic war.
Asahara was arrested at a commune near Mount Fuji two months after the attack on Tokyo and sentenced to hang, having been convicted of crimes resulting in multiple deaths. He remains on death row.
The guru used a mix of charisma, mysticism and raw power to commit one of Japan's most shocking crimes with his disciples, who included doctors and engineers educated at elite Japanese institutions.
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