Prosecutors will release four people arrested earlier this month over the 1995 shooting of the then National Police Agency chief when their detention period expires Wednesday due to a lack of credible evidence, investigation sources said Tuesday.
The four with links to the AUM Shinrikyo cult are Toshiyuki Kosugi, 39, a former police officer, Tetsuya Uemura, 49, Mitsuo Sunaoshi, 36, and Koichi Ishikawa, 35. Ishikawa was arrested over an explosion at a religious scholar’s house.
Police will continue the investigation on a voluntary base, but it will become difficult for them to find out the truth, analysts said.
The four were arrested July 7 on suspicion of involvement in the attack on Takaji Kunimatsu. He was shot and severely wounded in front of his home in Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward on March 30, 1995, eight days after the police launched raids on AUM following the fatal sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway.
Kosugi originally told investigators he had cooperated with the actual shooter, but he has changed his statement over the past several days to say he himself tried to kill Kunimatsu, stirring doubts over the credibility of his previous remarks, the sources said.
In addition, two former senior AUM members, who police believe were the actual shooter and the head of the operation, have denied their involvement in the attack, they said.
The decision to release them came after the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office conferred with the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office and the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office, sources said.