Cultist says Inoue aimed at Aoshima

Former Aum Shinrikyo intelligence chief Yoshihiro Inoue specifically named Tokyo Gov. Yukio Aoshima as the target of a parcel bomb that seriously wounded the governor’s aide, former cultist Toru Toyoda testified Feb. 25 during Inoue’s trial at the Tokyo District Court.

Toyoda, 28, a physicist, told the court that the idea of sending a parcel bomb to Aoshima on May 16, 1995, originally stemmed from a message from cult leader Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, earlier in the month. “On May 8, Eriko Ida came to our hideout in Hachioji with Asahara’s message,” he said. “It read, ‘Whatever happens next month, don’t waver from your purpose.'”

Six cultists who were then at the hideout in Hachioji, western Tokyo, including Inoue, tried to “translate” Asahara’s message and concluded that his arrest was approaching and that he wanted them to take action to distract police, Toyoda said. After discussing what to do, Toyoda told the court, they decided to send a bomb that looked exactly like an ordinary parcel sent from a post office.

Toyoda quoted Inoue as saying that Tokyo Gov. Yukio Aoshima was a good target for the bomb. Inoue, Toyoda said, told the other cultists that Aoshima was chosen for two reasons. The first was because the Tokyo Metropolitan Government was making efforts to outlaw the cult under the law. The second reason was that many people who stood to lose financially due to Aoshima’s controversial decision to cancel Tokyo’s preparations to host the World Exposition could want revenge, which might confuse the police investigation.

On May 10, cult member Katsuya Takahashi assembled the detonator while fellow cultist Tomomasa Nakagawa concocted RDX explosives at the Hachioji hideout, Toyoda said, adding that it resembled a parcel containing a book. “I thought that the person who opened it would surely get hurt, even get killed at the worst,” Toyoda said.