Police: Cultist in on plan to shoot top cop

A former senior Aum Supreme Truth member who was arrested Wednesday in connection with the March 1995 shooting of then National Police Agency Commissioner General Takaji Kunimatsu wrote in a notebook soon after the attack details of the shooting that were not reported by media, sources said Wednesday.

Koichi Ishikawa, 35, a former senior member of the cult’s “Imperial Household Secretariat,” described in the notebook the characteristics of bullets used to shoot Kunimatsu and the distance between the shooter and Kunimatsu at the time of the attack.

Ishikawa is suspected of having detonated a bomb in front of an apartment in Suginami Ward, Tokyo, the home of a religious scholar knowledgeable about Aum.

As police believe such descriptions could not have be written in the notebook if the writer did not know about the shooting plot beforehand, they are questioning Ishikawa to determine whether he was involved in the attack.

According to the sources, the notebook was found in Ishikawa’s bag and confiscated by police when he was arrested in April 1995 on suspicion of crimes including forging a signature or seal on a private document.

Written in the notebook was the original draft for a handout titled “National Police Agency Commissioner General Shot” that the cult‘s followers distributed in Hachioji, Tokyo, on the afternoon of March 31, 1995, the day after the shooting. Police believe that the draft was written in the notebook as late as the morning of March 31, 1995.

The draft said “something is wrong with the bullets,” hinting at the fact that hollow-point bullets were used in the attack. Hollow-point bullets, or dumdums, are more deadly than regular bullets because they expand more than usual when they enter a body. The press did not reported that dumdums were used in the attack until April 1, 1995, more than two days after the shooting.

The notebook also said Kunimatsu was shot from a distance of about 20 meters. According to the police, the actual distance was found to be 20.92 meters. Immediately after the incident, the distance was wrongly reported as “30 to 40 meters.”

Ishikawa was a close aide to Aum founder Chizuo Matsumoto, 49. Police believe that the notebook is proof Ishikawa had prior knowledge of the plot to kill Kunimatsu.


Hayakawa seen near crime scene

On March 30, 1995, the day of the attack, a man resembling former senior Aum member Kiyohide Hayakawa, 54, was seen about three kilometers from the scene of the shooting, sources said Thursday. Hayakawa was Aum’s “construction minister” at the time.

Toshiyuki Kosugi, 39, a former police officer and onetime Aum member who was arrested Wednesday over the 1995 shooting, told police that, along with other Aum members, he was a passenger in a car driven by a young man he did not know to the scene of the attack.

Police believe that at least five Aum members were at the scene of the shooting when it happened.

Hayakawa has been sentenced to death for seven crimes, including the murder of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto and his family members.

According to the sources, a man resembling Hayakawa was seen about three kilometers southeast of the scene of the attack, which took place in front of Kunimatsu’s apartment complex in Arakawa Ward, Tokyo. A local resident saw the man standing in front of a high-rise building near the Sumida ward government building by the Sumidagawa river on the morning of March 30, 1995.

The visit Hayakawa is suspected of having made to the area aroused suspicion because there are no shops or restaurants in the area. Hayakawa also was seen near Kunimatsu’s apartment complex the day before the shooting.

The sources said Hayakawa flew from Moscow with former senior Aum member Satoru Hashimoto, 37, whom police strongly suspect shot Kunimatsu, on March 22, 1995, when police started a large-scale investigation of the cult.

Immediately after returning from Moscow, Hayakawa and Hashimoto headed for a cult facility in Kamikuishikimura, Yamanashi Prefecture. The police believe they met with other Aum members at the facility to plan the shooting of Kunimatsu and that Hayakawa gave the order to other cult members to shoot Kunimatsu by walkie-talkie on the day of the shooting.

According to the sources, Kosugi told the police that on the day of the shooting he was driven to the scene with other cultists in a car driven by a young man whose name he did not know. The car was parked in a residential area. Kosugi said another man wearing a coat Kosugi had lent Hashimoto got into the car after the shooting. Hashimoto is suspected of fleeing the scene of the shooting first on a bicycle and then in the car.

A police officer saw Tetsuya Uemura, 49, who was arrested Wednesday over the shooting of Kunimatsu, cycling in front of Minami-Senju Police Station near the scene. The police believe that Uemura acted as a decoy so that the gunman could escape.

The police learned that Mitsuo Sunaoshi, 36, who was arrested Wednesday over the shooting, called television stations after the shooting, demanding that the police call off their investigation into Aum.

Uemura and Sunaoshi have denied involvement in the shooting.

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Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan
July 9, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday July 9, 2004.
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