Captured cult member still worships Aum Shinrikyo guru

Katsuya Takahashi, the Aum Shinrikyo member who was arrested Friday in Tokyo after 17 years on the run, sits in his police cell in the lotus position and chants a cult mantra, according to investigative sources.

The The Yomiuri Shimbun says that

Takahashi, under arrest for his role in the cult’s deadly sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995, uses specific terms associated with the cult to answer investigators, including such remarks as “I was arrested because of karma,” according to police.

The word karma, meaning cosmic justice, was commonly used in the cult‘s religious training.

Takahashi sometimes performs a typical cult ritual called “ritsui reihai,” according to the sources. This practice of prayer, also employed by Tibetan Buddhists, involves a person throwing his body forward to the ground then resuming a standing position.

The Metropolitan Police Department is questioning Takahashi under the belief he still follows cult founder Chizuo Matsumoto, 57, a convict on death row. […]

Takahashi has not expressed any remorse toward the gas attack victims, according to the police.

Cult leader Chizuo Matsumoto is better known as Shoko Asahara.

Takahashi is suspected of transporting an Aum member to a railway station in the 1995 sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that left 13 people dead and thousands sickened.

Kyodo says he has also been implicated in some of the cult’s other crimes, including murders, a kidnapping and a mail bomb attack.

The Asahi Shimbun says that when he was arrested Takahashi had more than 10 books published by the doomsday cult in his possession.

He also had cassette recordings of teachings by Aum guru Chizuo Matsumoto and photos of the bearded leader, who is one of 13 cultists on death row. […]

Aside from works published by the cult, his collection included about 15 other books dealing with religion.

“Initiation,” written by Matsumoto, 57, also known as Shoko Asahara, was part of the collection, Tokyo police said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun writes that Naoko Kikuchi, 40, another former Aum member arrested earlier this month, reportedly told police that Takahashi, 54, conducted cult rituals at his hideouts as late as around 2006.

The Mainichi quotes an unnamed investigator as saying, “”If we cannot undo Takahashi’s mind control, he will not help in uncovering the truth of the (AUM Shinrikyo) incidents.”

The paper also says

It has been learned that Takahashi reportedly told investigators, “The day before the sarin incident, at a hideout in Shibuya, I heard that Yoshihiro Inoue (currently on death-row) instruct those who were to carry it out, ‘Quickly spread the sarin.'” At the time, Inoue referred to sarin by code words like “wizard,” and Takahashi has said, “I didn’t know what the code words referred to. The liquid I was given was brown, so I thought that it wasn’t sarin.”

According to The Yomiuri Shimbun Takahasi

admitted driving the car to a subway station in central Tokyo on March 20, 1995, investigative sources with the Metropolitan Police Department said.

Although he saw “something containing brownish liquid” in the car, he had no idea the material was sarin, they cited Takahashi as saying.

At the time of the crime, Takahashi was a close aide to Yoshihiro Inoue, 42, chief of Aum’s self-styled “intelligence ministry.” Inoue is now on death row.

In spite of Takahashi’s statement, the MPD believes he was in a position to know the material was sarin prior to the subway gassing incident, the sources said.

Kyodo reports that the cult member was turned over to public prosecutors Sunday on charges of conspiring with the cult’s leader over the deadly 1995 Tokyo subway gas attack, police said.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday June 19, 2012.
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