Prosecutors drop Aum shooting case

Prosecutors said Friday there is insufficient evidence to indict four men linked to the Aum Shinrikyo cult over the 1995 shooting of the National Police Agency chief.

The four, including former police officer Toshiyuki Kosugi, 39, were arrested in early July and later released.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office said it has doubts about the credibility of Kosugi’s confession. Kosugi changed his statement after being arrested.

Seishi Suei, public security head at the Metropolitan Police Department, said: “We have continued investigations to catch the suspects and uncover the truth. It is regrettable that investigators could not collect enough evidence for the prosecutors to request a trial.”

The prosecutors and police had continued questioning the four on a voluntary basis after their release.

The three others are Tetsuya Uemura, 49, Mitsuo Sunaoshi, 37, and Koichi Ishikawa, 35. Ishikawa was arrested over an explosion at a religious scholar’s house.

The NPA commissioner general at the time, Takaji Kunimatsu, was shot and severely wounded outside his home in Arakawa Ward, Tokyo, on March 30, 1995 — eight days after the police launched raids on Aum following the cult’s fatal sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.