Japan police hold final Tokyo gas attack fugitive

Police in Japan today arrested the final fugitive from the religious cult that launched deadly nerve gas attacks on Tokyo's subway in 1995, media said.

The capture of Katsuya Takahashi brings to an end a police hunt for those behind the coordinated release of Nazi-developed sarin, an incident that killed 13 people, injured thousands and sowed panic throughout the capital.

"Tokyo Metropolitan Police confirmed the identity of the man as Katsuya Takahashi by using finger prints and other information," broadcaster NHK reported.

Takahashi, 54, was detained near a comic book cafe in southern Tokyo, it said.
Jiji Press later confirmed Takahashi had been formally arrested on suspicion of murder and other charges.

A huge manhunt had been under way in and around the capital since the arrest less than two weeks ago of Naoko Kikuchi, 40, a former member of the Aum Supreme Truth cult.

Both Kikuchi and Takahashi had been on the run for more than 17 years following the release of sarin on Tokyo's heaving underground system, an attack that formed part of a doomsday vision by the cult's founder.

Despite posters showing their faces being displayed at nearly every train station in Japan, Takahashi, Kikuchi and fellow fugitive Makoto Hirata long evaded capture.

Hirata, 47, gave himself up at a police station in central Tokyo minutes before midnight on last New Year's Eve.

He is suspected of being part of a plot to kidnap and confine the brother of an Aum follower who had escaped from the cult in February 1995, a month before the subway gas attack.

On June 3, police arrested Kikuchi, who stands accused of being involved in the production of the sarin.

The subsequent police probe showed that until recently she had been in close contact with Takahashi, and that he had been living in Kawasaki city south of Tokyo.

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