The ex-Aum Shinrikyo follower who sheltered senior cult fugitive Makoto Hirata for nearly 17 years had ¥8 million in cash when she turned herself in Tuesday, investigative sources said.
Police hope to learn how Akemi Saito, who once worked as a nurse, acquired the funds.
Hirata, 46, surrendered on Dec. 31 and was arrested on suspicion of conspiring with Aum guru Shoko Asahara and his disciples to abduct Kiyoshi Kariya, a Tokyo notary, and inject him with a fatal dose of chemical in March 1995.
Aum members abducted Kariya in a bid to discover the whereabouts of his wealthy younger sister who had tried to leave the cult.
Saito, 49, handed over the ¥8 million along with her cellphone and Hirata’s expired driver’s license when she turned herself in to Tokyo police. She was accompanied by lawyer Taro Takimoto, who is representing Hirata.
According to Takimoto, Saito had exactly ¥8 million in crisp bills. She kept the cash in her apartment in Higashi-Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, where she worked at an osteopathic clinic under the assumed name Shoko Yoshikawa.
Saito maintained a bank account and was on a pension plan under the false name.
Takimoto also quoted Saito as saying she and Hirata spent around 15 years around Osaka after Hirata urged that they move to a crowded urban area from the less populated Tohoku region.