Kyodo News Service (Japana), Jan. 28, 2003
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TOKYO, Jan. 29 (Kyodo) — Prosecutors began their closing argument Wednesday on Tomomasa Nakagawa, a former senior member of the AUM Shinrikyo cult accused of numerous crimes including the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.
In the evening, the prosecutors are likely to demand that the Tokyo District Court hand a severe sentence to Nakagawa, 40, who was indicted on 11 accounts.
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Nakagawa was indicted in the second-largest number of cases after Shoko Asahara, the founder and former leader of the group, who was indicted in 13 cases.
According to the indictment, Nakagawa conspired with other AUM members including Asahara, 47, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, and killed 24 people in five cases.
Nakagawa stands accused of the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system March 20, 1995, another sarin gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, on June 27, 1994, and the murder of Yokohama-based lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, 33, his wife and their son Nov. 4, 1989.
Nakagawa also allegedly murdered fellow cult member Kotaro Ochida, 29, in Yamanashi Prefecture on Jan. 30, 1994, and company employee Tadahito Hamaguchi, 28, who the cult suspected of spying. Nakagawa allegedly used VX nerve gas to kill Hamaguchi in Osaka on Dec. 12, 1994.
Twelve people were killed and thousands were injured in the Tokyo subway attack. Seven people were killed and 144 injured in the sarin attack in Matsumoto.
In addition, Nakagawa was indicted for allegedly abducting and detaining Kiyoshi Kariya, 68, head of the secretariat of a notary office in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward on Feb. 28, 1995. Kariya died of heart failure the following day.
Furthermore, Nakagawa is accused of committing several attempted murders using cyanide fumes, VX gas, sarin gas and a letter bomb.
Of the 11 cases, Nakagawa has pleaded guilty on the charges of murdering lawyer Sakamoto’s family and his involvement in Kariya’s death.
But he has denied other charges.
Regarding the Tokyo subway case, Nakagawa has said he produced sarin gas but pleaded not guilty to the accusations against him, saying he did not know the nerve gas would be used on the subway.
In October last year, the Tokyo District Court sentenced Seiichi Endo, another former senior AUM member and maker of sarin gas, to death. AUM has renamed itself Aleph.
Nakagawa, a native of Okayama, joined AUM when he was a student at the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine.