Defense lawyers for Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara on June 19 cross-examined Kanagawa police forensic officers on their search for the bodies of the wife and baby of an anti-Aum Shinrikyo lawyer.
The four officers are giving testimony in a trial session for Asahara, 42, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, at the Tokyo District Court. His lawyers asked the officers several detailed questions about the unearthing of Satoko and Tatsuhiko Sakamoto, the wife and the 1-year-old son of Tsutsumi Sakamoto, a lawyer for parents who were seeking to take their children away from Aum.
A defense attorney questioned one of the forensic officers by using two maps drawn by Kazuaki Okazaki, a former cultist who told police where the bodies were buried. The Sakamotos, allegedly murdered and buried by Aum members in mountains in 1989, were not recovered until 1995 despite several searches by police using a specific map that was sent to a Yokohama lawyers’ office in 1990 and which detailed the distances between landmarks in meters. The other, vaguer map was attached to a prosecution report about Okazaki in 1995.
During Thursday’s session, Asahara often mumbled toward the defendant’s seat but otherwise was relatively quiet.